• Daniyar Kylyzhov

About the rocket team who can

A little bit about yourself


It so happened that after school I went to study at the Moscow Aviation Institute (MAI), 601 departments, aerospace faculty. I studied the design of spacecraft and booster blocks. Since 2004, I went to work in the design department of KB Salyut (FSUE GKNPTs named after MV Khrunichev). I got into the sector that was engaged in the design of the Hangar and the modernization of the Proton. Since 2008, I have worked as a deputy head of the Design and Research Center of the Federal State Unitary Enterprise “GKNPTs im. MV Khrunichev ”, and in 2014 I founded my own private company“ CosmoCourse ”, where I went to work with my head. This article is a summary of my experience in the field of creating launch vehicles and the formation of the team that should create these missiles.



The article itself


I am often asked the question - why are you sceptical about the statements of collectives about the creation of missiles? I usually answer with a couple of phrases or words in the style of the law of conservation of standard hours in nature. But in response to me "flies" that this is all unfounded. Well, in order not to be unfounded, let's consider a conventionally classic example of a liquid ultra-light rocket for launching satellites. Let's assume that its design is quite classic and standard, without reusability and other fashionable gizmos. And the number of steps can be from two to three.

I'll try to tell you what the minimum team is needed to create your own rocket, who is needed in order to design this rocket. The very first secret is that it is not a rocket that needs to be designed, but a complex, which, in addition to the rocket, includes issues of ground infrastructure (cosmodrome + MCC), as well as issues of organizing production and testing. Let's start.


  • General design specialists. Which links the entire complex as a whole. On the rocket, they set the basic concept, supervise the weight report and parameters of all systems, track the correspondence of all systems of the rocket, and the complex to each other. At least 3 specialists should work here.

  • Linkers. These are such advanced design specialists who work out (draw) and link the entire rocket. They also determine the interaction of the rocket with ground equipment, calculate all mass-centring and inertial characteristics. They also do preliminary strength calculations. At least 4 specialists should work here.

  • Ballistics. These specialists, together with the designers, carry out the design-ballistic analysis and determine all the characteristics of the rocket. Then they constantly accompany the project, carrying out verification calculations. They take into account all the requirements for the purpose (a type of orbit, mass, etc.) and restrictions. The main constraints are the fall fields, velocity, and heat fluxes during the discharge of the nose fairing and during the separation of the first stage accelerator, permissible overloads, and other dynamic constraints. Some of the limitations are immediately known, some appear during design, and some during flight tests. At least 1 specialist must work here.

  • Flight dynamics. These are such deeper ballistics, which considers the rocket no longer as a material point but as a body that can rotate under the influence of external forces and control actions. True, then the real stiffness of the rocket, fluctuations in the fuel in the tanks, resonances, and inaccuracies of the control system must be taken into account. Their main work is the selection of missile control laws and stochastic analysis, which shows the real accuracy, deviations, and control needs with a given probability. They have as their limitations many deviations of all parameters and systems of the rocket, as well as the probabilistic nature of external influences. At least 3 specialists should work here.

  • Aerodynamics. Specialists in the interaction of the rocket with the atmosphere. They need circular blowing of the rocket and its separating parts, and then confirmation and refinement of these characteristics during tests in wind tunnels. At least 2 specialists should work here, they also organize tests.

  • Heat workers. They calculate the external thermal effect on the structure, heat distribution along with the rocket, determine the required parameters of thermal protection, thermal insulation, and thermostat. At the same time, they must check everything, from the case to the devices. At least 1 specialist must work here.

  • Solid. First of all, the strength specialists must determine all the loads acting on the rocket at all stages of its operation, including during storage and transportation. Then they perform verification calculations for the entire structure. They also determine the natural frequencies of vibrations, stiffness, compliance, and distribution of shock loads. At least 2 specialists must work here.

  • Technologists. They work closely with the linkers and work out the design for manufacturability. They define typical production processes. Then they work out the organization of production. In essence, this should be a plan for the entire plant with a staffing table and requirements for the qualifications of workers. At least 2 specialists must work here.

  • Reliability specialists. The name speaks for itself. They calculate reliability, provide redundancy recommendations, and define test requirements to validate reliability and safety requirements. They supervise such a terrible document as the analysis of the types, consequences, and criticality of failures. At least 1 specialist must work here.

  • Ground operations specialists. They form all the requirements for ground infrastructure and form the technology for working with a rocket during ground operation. They are essentially general design specialists but in the area of ​​ground equipment and operations. Also, these specialists, together with the designers, supervise the issues of assessing the impact of the complex on the environment, carrying out all the necessary calculations. At least 1 specialist should work here if you then order work on the design of ground cooperation systems. If you leave the design of ground systems to yourself, then at least 5 more specialists are needed.

  • Control systems specialists. These are essentially general design specialists but in the field of control systems. They form the basic requirements for control and telemetry systems, providing mutual coordination with adjacent systems. They also form a list of all sensors, electricity consumers, etc. At least 1 specialist should work here if you then order work on cooperation control systems and telemetry. If you leave the design of control and telemetry systems to yourself, then at least 8 more specialists are needed.

  • Specialists in pneumatic-hydraulic systems. These specialists design everything related to piping and valves. These are hydraulic, strength, thermal, and other related calculations. At least 4 specialists should work here.

  • Engine specialists. These are the engine designers. If they perform only the functions of general design for engines and then transfer the work of cooperation, then 2 specialists are enough. If they develop engines themselves, then at least 5 specialists are needed for one engine, 7 specialists for two, and 8 specialists for three.



In total, we see that if you go to focus on a team of highly qualified specialists who have significant experience, excellent performance, and know-how to work with each other, then you need at least 27 specialists just to design a rocket (complex). And if we consider that we live in the real world, then we need at least 35 specialists who know what to do. If you focus on your strength, like SpaceX, then in an ideal world you need at least 47 specialists, and in a real-world at least 55-60 specialists. Many will notice that I did not take into account a bunch of auxiliary specialists, workers, and in general, there are not enough designers for the release of a CD. But my goal was to show straight minimum-minimum.

Now about the statements and desires. Dreams that it is possible to work remotely and on a half-time basis, as well as to outsource the workers I listed, remain dreams. I do not know of such successful examples. Yes, and the work of these specialists in the course of the project is carried out without respite and with great strain, there are constant refinements, alterations, and improvements. An exception is the organization of our own project office with up to 10 specialists. And all work on the complex is outsourced, for example, to Roskosmos. S7 Space seems to be running according to this scheme. The next problem is that presentations with 20 or as many as 100 leaves are often called a project. Indeed, 2-3 "trained" specialists are enough to form a preliminary appearance of the rocket. And they will form the appearance of the rocket within a week and in another week or two they will draw up all this in a beautiful document. So this is not a project, but indicative proposals. Further, all this should be rechecked and recalculated for at least three years (iterations + design stages). Sometimes it is suggested, after such a "rough" work, to immediately proceed to the manufacture of a prototype. All this is offered because the specialists I have listed are not visible on the horizon or it seems that they are not needed. So, it’s easy to release a CD on a prototype rocket, if the study and refinement are not carried out. But the whole result can be immediately thrown into the trash, well, or put on a shelf. that the specialists I have listed are not visible on the horizon, or it seems that they are not needed. So, it’s easy to release a CD on a prototype rocket, if the study and refinement are not carried out. But the whole result can be immediately thrown into the trash, well, or put on a shelf. that the specialists I have listed are not visible on the horizon, or it seems that they are not needed. So, it’s easy to release a CD on a prototype rocket, if the study and refinement are not carried out. But the whole result can be immediately thrown into the trash, well, or put on a shelf.

Here's a nice reminder of how many specialists are needed and why. I hope this will help many to more correctly assess their ideas and proposals in the field of missile development. I have not shown how the hiring of these specialists is distributed over time. But I can tell you that if you choose the right number of these particular specialists, then in three years your rocket will fly. True, for this you will also need to organize production and build all the necessary ground infrastructure. But that's a completely different story.

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