There are a lot of stories about the main designers and global victories, much less information about those whose hands and talent put incredible ideas into metal. The interlocutor of "MIC" - Marina Demertseva, a specialist in strength calculations, who worked in the Dnepropetrovsk design bureau Yuzhnoye from the first days of its existence. Order of Lenin, two “Badges of Honor”, 30 years of experience at one of the most secret enterprises of the USSR.
- Marina Fedorovna, how did you find yourself in Dnepropetrovsk?
- After graduating from MAI in 1948, I worked at SRI-88 in Podlipkah. Then this institute, created right after the war, was engaged in all directions of jet weapons. Since the end of the war, hundreds of our engineers have worked in Germany, collecting all possible information about German jet development. Korolev led the subject of ballistic missiles, exploring and developing developments on the German V-2, I also worked for Yevgeny Sinilshchikov, and our specialization was anti-aircraft and cruise missiles, the German Vasserfal and Schmetterling.
Employees of OKB-586 at a festive demonstration. Second left - Marina Demertseva, in the center - Vasily Budnik
However, in 1950, the entire division of Sinilshchikov was transferred to Khimki, to the design office of S. Lavochkin. But they left me with Korolev — young engineers came from the institutes, but they had neither specialization nor experience. And by that time I, having two years experience at NII-88, was considered to be a good and experienced strength. And I was invited to the sector of strength, which was headed by Sergey Okhapkin.
For six months I worked with the Queen, and once in the sector, it was in June, it seems, one woman came to quit. It turned out that they are being transferred to a new place of work with her husband - to Dnepropetrovsk, they promise to provide housing there. Moreover, she had already been there and avidly told what beauty she saw: the Dnieper is wide, the acacias are in bloom! And I myself am from Uzbekistan, we ate a handful of white acacia in childhood ... Well, the apartment. In Moscow, my husband and I did not shine, would have stayed in the hostel. Gena was older than me, but he also studied at the MAI, having managed to do some fighting on a fighter, having become disabled and once again rose to the sky with a prosthetic leg.
I want to go to Okhapkina and so. He replies that he would be happy to leave me, but he understands that he will not be able to offer housing in the near future. And he called Vasily Budnik himself, who formed the group in our scientific research institute to be included in the list. So I got to Dnepropetrovsk, the last of the first list of designers aimed at the mass production of a new type of weapon, the P-1 rocket, being created. A little earlier, a group of engines, recruited mainly in KB-456 Valentina Glushko, went to a new job.
- “The resettlement of peoples” than you remember?
- We left Podlipok 5 August 1951, on a small bus - Vasily Sergeevich Budnik, our group of 13 people and the representative of the first department is a secretary. We drove two days overnight in Orel. We first settled in a hotel, but literally in the early days Budnik took us to an already built house on Philosophical Street, 36 / 38, showed apartments. For some time we waited until the finish is finished, and then settled. Especially for bringing things from Podlipok, Vasily Budnik ordered two cars, sent people there to collect and load everything. Now it is ridiculous, but then the roots of saxaul were brought in these cars - great fuel for kitchen stoves, there was no gas in the house yet ...
Budnik went to Dnepropetrovsk to the post of chief designer of the SKB plant 586. The automobile plant, on the basis of which mass production was developed, began to be built in the 1944 year, and by the time of conversion, it had already managed to produce several experimental machines. Accordingly, some workshops were, but for the mass production of missiles it was necessary to build a lot more. Therefore, in the same way as during the evacuation of factories in 1941, development and production were carried out in parallel with the construction of buildings. I still remember the saying: “There is no more dirt than at DAZ”.
Arriving for the first time at a future place of work, we saw a construction site, instead of a walk-through - booths with watchmen. Our design bureau was located in dog houses, a kind of three-story building that forms one of the walls of the shop. Initially, we settled in one floor, then with the arrival of new employees occupied all the new premises. We have already issued 7 August, took a non-disclosure subscription, issued a pass. The first meeting was held in the office of the chief engineer of the automobile plant.
A part of the employees of the factory automobile design bureau came over to us, most of the workers also turned out to be “motorists”. I must say, they were excellent specialists, because if there were problems in mastering absolutely new products for them, everything was solved quickly and calmly. The shop where the engines were assembled was built, but the tanks were first made essentially on the street — neither the roof, nor the walls.
- That is, the time for the buildup was not given?
- The task before the design bureau and the plant was specific: by January the first product in the metal should be ready for testing. The word “rocket” was not something that we were allowed out loud, even mentally pronounced.
Then somehow I didn’t think about it, but now it’s clear that Vasily Budnik, when creating a serial design bureau, kept in mind that the time would come for his own developments. We were not just hired employees - he did everything so that we quickly felt like a single team, a team. It worked and the fact that we lived in the same house, spent leisure time together, and Vasily Sergeyevich tried to organize joint trips: a boat was rented and we went to the collective farm on Sunday to some of the Dnieper islands or went on a tour by bus — to watch the Dnieper and Khortytsya .
We were not pioneers for a long time - young specialists from different universities of Moscow, Leningrad, Saratov, Kazan also began to arrive ...
- What made people work with such tension? They say Korolev was cool. And the rest?
- I knew Korolev even from Podlipk, but even then it was a magnitude for all of us. He didn’t have any conversations on a short leg with ordinary employees. It is believed that everyone feared him, and probably there is some truth in this. Although in fact it was not fear. We all were children of our time and understood: this man is responsible for everything, he is free to decide the fate of any of us with the stroke of a pen and at the same time his fate depends entirely on how we work. This is discipline. Yes, strict. But sensible, and we took it without any doubt.
Every morning you come to the first department to receive your briefcase with documents - we didn’t have anything left on the tables for the night - and should get to work as soon as possible. The schedule was very hard, just to leave the room and go about your business is unthinkable. At the checkpoint on time - by itself, so also the time sheet in the KB, internal accounting. And then not everyone had a watch, it was considered a luxury. And the timekeepers, as on the selection, are harmful: the slightest delay was recorded and immediately transferred to the frames. But we took it as a norm, did not complain about life.
- Serial KB was not at all the ultimate dream of Budnik, as far as I know ...
- As soon as the work on the first production product went into regular mode, when there was no need for constant intervention by designers and technologists, Vasily Sergeevich began to load us with the creation of his own developments. He was a supporter of missiles, allowing long-term storage in the refilled state, which was impossible in the royal P-1. “One” and the following “two” (P-2) and “five” (Р-5) were refueled just before launch, which is extremely inconvenient for use on combat duty in the troops.
"Park of rockets" in Dnepropetrovsk
shows only a small part
YuMZ products. Photo: m.gorod.dp.ua
shows only a small part
YuMZ products. Photo: m.gorod.dp.ua
Therefore, in Dnepropetrovsk, work began on a rocket, where the oxidant was a composition based on nitric acid. Due to aggressiveness, fuel components also did not allow the rocket to be stored for more than a month, but this was also considered a gift by the military. In fact, it was these works that made the design bureau in Dnepropetrovsk chief in military rocket production.
To the products for the army, the requirements were very harsh. We, the strengths, had to solve problems with many unknowns. In fact, at the same time, “rocket” strength standards were created. For aircraft, such norms have long existed, and for rockets, we did. This is a huge design and scientific work - to create a product with a minimum own weight, with a maximum load, withstanding in addition to starting voltages, where we started, and shipping conditions, plus taking into account metal fatigue during long-term storage. We didn’t speak about double safety factor from the very beginning, but the responsible units were designed with the 1,5 coefficient, where it was possible - 1,3. These figures were not taken from the ceiling, along with the design was carried out a huge amount of experimental work.
Over time, the tasks were set more and more difficult, we expected the strength of the products up to options for their use in a nuclear attack. When the first experiments with mathematical modeling began, the computing complex in the KB occupied an entire floor.
From 1951 until April 1954, we worked under the guidance of Vasily Budnik. It was already a big design bureau, with its own work. And then Mikhail Kuzmich Yangel was appointed chief designer. Budnik was a very good designer, an excellent organizer, but Yangel, if I may say so, is the peak, the top of the professional level. Budnik became his first deputy, which certainly hurt his pride. But at that time nobody paid attention to the insults. It really was a race in which everything personal was not at all taken into account. It seemed to us unfair that another person would come to the place of the leader who had created everything practically from scratch. But it was only until the appearance of Yangel.
- Not that word. When he began to work, when new themes began to open up, ideas that seemed completely impossible to be realized, the attitude to Mikhail Kuzmich changed. He was really loved by everyone, and he deserved it.
The development of each new product is a chain of ideas, inventions, design innovations and technological solutions. Moreover, the case was put so that creativity in fact was imputed to the responsibility of each employee. I don’t know if this is possible elsewhere, but our design bureau was a community of inventors.
For our products, other companies carried out a huge number of orders, and this is also new, there was no time for long-term research. For example, we count brackets-supports, on which the rocket is in the mine. New alloy, certain characteristics. Developed a design, tested - everything is fine, regularly, the product goes into a series, is placed in the starting mines. To stand there for rockets for many years, but suddenly a year and a half later they report: fatigue cracks began to appear in the brackets. A rocket on alert, there are many of them and you need to make a decision immediately. The first thing we did was special covers that took on part of the load of the standard brackets. That is, the problem of the already installed missiles was decided, and then they set about rafting. They investigated it in all respects, together with the manufacturers they changed the composition ... As a result, they achieved that they got almost perfect material on the combination of weight, strength and reliability. A similar situation arose when we started working with titanium alloys. Materials are awesome, but capricious, very demanding on processing technology.
- It is clear that the problems - both planned and sudden - were in abundance. Plus time trouble. How did you manage to cope?
- The main thing is that there were no situations when we were left alone with the problems. Relationship subcontractors like "we have done our work, and then figure it out for yourself," if there were, then stopped at the root. As a single organism, not only the CB, but the entire system worked. Specialists from different departments from dozens of cities around the Union understood that it was a common thing.
Business trips were our daily life, and wherever we went to see our colleagues, we felt everywhere that we were visiting our own. I still feel like a very happy person - I had to work with so many talented people on a huge number of products. Each next step multiplied the number of problems. The increase in the number of stages, mine placement, mortar launch, work on space carriers ... There was no one to ask, we were the first to go in this area. At times I got tired terribly - you fumble around the house, and in your head: the instrument compartment, the fairing, the transition compartment, and in each heap of parts, everything is riveted ... Dozens of names and the weak link must not be missed, everything must be absolutely reliable. Sometimes solutions for a few days looking for how to do everything in the best way. However, the instinct worked - sometimes it was already becoming clear from one type of detail that it would not work properly. But all the same, guesses need to be confirmed by calculations.
- It was recently said that the Yuzhnoye Design Bureau was working for the moon ...
- Yes, we also had a chance to participate in the Soviet lunar program. Our design bureau got the development of the so-called E-module, which was supposed to deliver a manned compartment with an astronaut to the surface of the moon, and then return it to orbit for subsequent docking with the main ship and return to Earth. There is even a photo in the archive of the factory, where I am depicted with this unit during temperature strength tests. We could not provide all the required modes, because we, together with a sample of the product, went to one of the institutes of Novosibirsk and worked there. 14 of computational cases was considered: on the dark or on the light side of the moon, takeoff and landing will take place, on what surface, at what possible speeds ... And what temperatures will affect the module in each case, how all elements will behave in this or that case designs. There were two main engines of our design with bottom protection, two helmsmen, a toroidal tank and ball tanks were located around the frame, the instrument compartment was above, and the mount for the habitable compartment was on top. But the astronaut compartment was developed and we did not. Unfortunately, the lunar program was closed after the Americans were ahead of us. But we worked our part of the program completely, the module was tested three times in an unmanned version on the Earth's orbit and everything went flawlessly.
- You started with a fairly simple rocket P-1 ... And what problems solved thirty years later?
- Very interesting история was with the choice of launch vehicle for the Sea Launch project. The KDU in the middle of the 70-s was commissioned to develop a middle-class launch vehicle. For options designed for maximum payload (including for the project of the manned reusable ship Zarya), an unusual launching algorithm was developed - the rocket was not simply placed on the launch pad, but was attached to it in a special way. The engine was started, and only after it gained power much more than the weight of the rocket, the mount broke. This provided improved stabilization of the rocket during acceleration and, most importantly, an increase in the payload mass. On the basis of the same carrier for the project "Energy" - "Buran" in Dnepropetrovsk were made accelerating blocks, "boarks" with engines manufactured by Glushko.
And when in the middle of 90-x started talking about the US-Russian-Ukrainian-Norwegian project Sea Launch, our developments turned out to be very useful - the option of attaching the carrier to the platform, although it was developed with completely different goals, in this case turned out to be irreplaceable. It is a pity that the Sea Launch has suspended its work - the well-being of Yuzhmash and the KBYu depended on it very much.