Cosmonautics Day: Interview with the Dean of the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering

On April 12th Russia celebrates Cosmonautics Day to commemorate the first space flight performed by Yuri Gagarin. Successful flights are a joint effort of thousands of people, dozens of groups of workers, who are doing their best to contribute to the progress in the aerospace field. For over 60 years the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of South Ural State University has been training specialists in this sector. The Faculty Dean Aleksandr Kartashev shares on strategic fields of development of the Faculty, on its partners, and on celebrating Cosmonautics Day.

– How long ago was the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering established, and what is its strategic goal today?

– Our faculty celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. Its history dates back to the Faculty of Mechanics of the Chelyabinsk Polytechnic Institute, later it became the Faculty of Engines, Appliances and Automation, after that for some time it was called the Faculty of Rocket and Space Technology, and now it is the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering of SUSU. The faculty has long been dealing with the development of rocket technologies in our country, and it was established in order to provide highly qualified personnel for the aerospace enterprises.

After our university was included into the program of state support for the leading universities of the Russian Federation for their competitiveness enhancement among the major research-and-education centers (Project 5-100), it was reorganized, as was our faculty. Today the faculty comprises 3 departments: Department of Aircrafts, Department of Aircraft Engines, and Department of Engineering Mechanics. Each department has its own base of laboratories. Also Aerospace Technology Research and Education Center is part of the faculty. It was created for the purpose of supporting and developing research studies of being performed jointly with the sector enterprises and in close interaction with the educational process at the faculty. Moreover, we have a Power Engineering and Supply Center for Collective Use – this division is being developed in collaboration with our partner, Control Systems Russian Instrumentation Engineering Corporation.

Also part of the faculty is Rocket and Space Technology Education Center named after Viktor Petrovich Makeyev, which has samples of rocket-and-space equipment used by our students for training and performing laboratory work. Starting from 1999 the Rocket and Space Technology Education Center is a Regional Division of the Association of Space Museums of Russia and features one of the best rocket equipment collections in our country. Today the collection of the Rocket and Space Technology Education Center keeps growing thanks to the participation of Joint Stock Company Academician V.P. Makeyev State Rocket Centre and other aerospace engineering enterprises.

One of the key fields within Project 5-100 is engineering, and first and foremost it is aerospace engineering. Our faculty plays a key role here, and with that regard it has a strategic field of development, Aeronet: promising small space crafts, low-thrust engines, smart materials and structures, as well as return space shuttles.

– What training programs does the Faculty offer?

– Our faculty offers a wide range of specialities and academic programs. First of all, these are Engineering, Manufacturing and Operation of Rockets and Rocket-and-Space Complexes, a basic speciality of the Department of Aircrafts, as well as Bachelor’s program on Rocket Complexes and Cosmonautics. This is not our limit, and currently we’re offering training on Power Generation and Electrical Engineering under the specialization of Aircraft Electrical Equipment, as it is not possible to build an aircraft without that knowledge. One other basic speciality is Aircraft and Rocket Engines Engineering (Department of Aircraft Engines). Moreover, there is an Ammunition and Detonating Fuses defense speciality at the department. The Department of Engineering Mechanics offers training on Applied Mechanics – competence in the field of structural dynamics and reliability.

Several years ago our faculty trained students to become personnel of Vostochny Cosmodrome, so our professors visited the spaceport and learned about its organization.

This year we have already held several Open House Days, and we can see that the enrollees’ interest in our programs grows. Last year the Engineering, Manufacturing and Operation of Rockets and Rocket-and-Space Complexe speciality was among the Top 10 programs with the highest grade point average.

– Who is the Faculty collaborating with? What interesting projects are being fulfilled?

– Joint Stock Company Academician V.P. Makeyev State Rocket Centre is our main partner. In collaboration with it we are performing research studies under the traditional academic programs.  

Within the frameworks of our strategic field we should mention our works related to engineering small space crafts intended for exploring small celestial bodies (например, asteroids, for instance), as well as space crafts intended for Moon-landing. All that people have been doing by now was delivering soil from our satellite’s surface. But we need to explore the Earth’s satellite more fully.

Small space crafts also require low-thrust engines, that is why this research field is being actively developed at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. We also deal with the issues related to developing the concept and engineering of return space shuttles.

The strategy of developing the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering implies that the research work of our students and their graduation papers are related to the research performed by our partner enterprises.

That is why the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering is actively collaborating with Lavochkin Association (Khimki, the Moscow Region); Joint Stock Company Research & Development Institute of Mechanical engineering (Nizhnyaya Salda, the Sverdlovsk Region); Khrunichev State Research and Production Space Center (Moscow); and others.

– How is the Faculty planning to celebrate Cosmonautics Day?

– The faculty has been celebrating Cosmonautics Day for many years now. Usually we organize big-scale events on our anniversary dates. Last year at we held a grand event at Sigma Education and Recreation Building, but this year it will be something more moderate. The goal of celebrations is not organizing another flashy event, but to attract enrollees into our field of activities. On April 7th we held Young Progressors Olympiad for school pupils, where they delivered their presentations on aerospace technologies. On April 12th a general staff meeting will be held at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, where I will share our plans on the fields of strategic development, we will summarize the previous year’s work, will mark our successes and mention our failures, and will award our lecturers and employees with certificates and letters of acknowledgment from our Rector. On this day a scientific conference will also be held for the lecturers with the participation of the faculty students, where science-and-engineering developments will be presented.

Ekaterina Kuznetsova; photo by: Oleg Igoshin
You are reporting a typo in the following text:
Simply click the "Send typo report" button to complete the report. You can also include a comment.