Friedrich Zander (Фридрих Артурович Цандер, Frīdrihs Canders; 23 August 1887 – 28 March 1933), often transliterated Fridrikh Arturovich Tsander, was a pioneer of rocketry and spaceflight in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union. He designed the first liquid-fuelled rocket to be launched in the Soviet Union, GIRD-X, and made many important theoretical contributions to the road to space.
He graduated with his engineering degree in 1914, moved to Moscow in 1915. He worked at the "Provodnik" rubber plant, then in 1919 worked at Aircraft Factory No. 4 ("Motor"). In 1923, he was married to A.F. Milyukova, and they had a daughter named Astra and a son named Mercury. Mercury died of scarlet fever in 1929. After several years of unemployment and intensive research on rocketry and space travel, in 1926, Tsander began work at the Central Design Bureau of Aviation, and in 1930 worked at the Central Institute of Aviation Motor Construction (TsIAM).
1924 was a particularly active year for Zander. The year before, Hermann Oberth had published the influential theoretical work "Die Rakete zu den Planetenräumen" ("The rocket to the planet spaces"), which in turn introduced Zander and other Russian enthusiasts to the ground breaking work by Robert Goddard ("A Method of Reaching Extreme Altitudes" published in 1919). Zander took advantage of this by promoting Tsiolkovsky's work, and developing it further. Together with Yuri Kondratyuk and his retired mentor Tsiolokovsky, he founded the Society for Studies of Interplanetary Travel. In an early publication, they would be the first to suggest using the Earth's atmosphere as a way of braking a re-entering spacecraft. The same year, Zander lodged a patent in Moscow for a winged rocket that he believed would be suitable for interplanetary flight, and in October gave a lecture to the Moscow Institute on the possibility of reaching Mars by rocket. During questioning after the lecture, he summarised the importance of reaching this planet in particular: "because it has an atmosphere and the capacity to support life. Mars is also known as 'the red star' and this is the emblem of our grand Soviet army."
In 1929-1930, while at the IAM, Zander worked on his first engine, OR-1, which ran on compressed air and gasoline and was based on a modified blowtorch. He also taught courses at the Moscow Aviation Institute during this time. In 1931, Zander was a founding member of GIRD (Group for the Investigation of Reaction Propulsion) (Группа изучения реактивного движения (ГИРД)) in Moscow. As head of brigade #1, Zander worked on the OR-2 (GRID-02) rocket engine, to power the "216" winged cruise missile. He also worked on the engine and rocket GIRD-10, which flew successfully on 25 November 1933. Zander had designed the rocket, but did not live to see it fly, having died of Typhus in March of that year in the city of Kislovodsk.