Became completely deaf at the age of 9, which isolated him from his surroundings and concentrated his mind on the problems of space and science. Mathematics teacher at provincial secondary schools (Borovsk, Kaluga), 1877-1927. Self-taught expert in astronomy, biology and chemistry.
Pioneer of research into problems of aviation and space travel, suggesting metal airships and airplanes in the late 1890s, and the exploration of the expanses of the universe with jet-propelled instruments in 1903 (the theoretical idea of space-rockets). Regarded as the father of space exploration in the USSR, though his prophetic visions were only theoretical.