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I am in the first year of high school and am trying my self at aerospace engineering,I just can't figure out a "checklist" for everything I need and how to design everything I need, it is a big project but I want to impress a certain someone of a certain company to have a better shot in life.

If this is not an appropriate question for this stack, please tell me and I will remove it my self.

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    $\begingroup$ There may be some existing answers to similar questions here already. One of the skills that future employers really look for is problem-solving, the drive to find solutions on our own, and that often involves research by reading up on similar problems and studying how they were solved. Consider searching this site for "rocket design" or "project management". In this case you might also search for "getting started" or "career" or "aerospace engineering" in quotes in the search bar at the top of this page and see if you can find anything helpful. Welcome to Space! :-) $\endgroup$ – uhoh Jan 9 at 1:11
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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, I genuinely appreciate the help, I hope you have an amazing year! :-) $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 9 at 1:18
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    $\begingroup$ To be fair, it sounds like you are trying to do something that no-one else has done for decades, i.e. design an entire rocket - so you maybe want to consider your approach. If you really want to be an engineer, then you won't need to worry much about creating lists - that is what project managers are there for. $\endgroup$ – Mike Brockington Jan 9 at 20:56
  • $\begingroup$ Sorry it has taken a while to get back to your comment. The reason I am designing an entirely new spacecraft is because if we keep going with "It works and there are no problems, so why fix it?" things aren't just gonna keep working, look at SpaceX and their rapid progress, Elon is now the richest person in the world and we are around ten years away from mars, if I design my Millennium Ultra-Heavy Launch Vehicle, then we can launch an entire Saturn V into lunar orbit and fuel it up there proving we have power and we are using it with force and intelligence! My rocket could send hundreds, if... $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 11 at 15:52
  • $\begingroup$ not a couple thousand people to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. Preparing for the future isn't a bad idea and it is what I aim to do, so are you here to help me or are you here to look to the past? $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 11 at 15:55
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I would suggest the first thing is just to spend time reading about it as an interested layperson. Histories of rocketry, Hayne's manuals, payload user's guides and Wikipedia articles about specific rockets and systems, go to YouTube and find Scott Manley, Everyday Astronaut, and Curious Droid. How do the engines actually work, what kinds of fuels are used, how do they steer, and so on. Be able to talk about rockets in general. That will take time, of course.

In the real world the next step is to identify the mission and explain why an existing launcher is not suitable, or what market niche your startup will occupy so that it can operate profitably. You'll have different requirements for sending a rover to Mars versus a small payload to low earth orbit, or, perhaps, five small payloads to distinct orbits.

Uhoh has a nice list. But if I were an engineering student going through a design process I'd begin with how much mass must be lifted into which orbit and estimate fuel requirements and size from that. You'll have to start making some decisions, like a first stage fueled by RP-1 and LOX using a gas generator cycle? (Look up the specs for SpaceX's Falcon 9 and Merlin engine.) Same for the upper stage? (Look up Falcon 9 upper stage.) A liquid hydrogen and LOX upper stage? (Look up the Centaur.) You won't go far wrong if you base your numbers on existing, successful technologies.

With that as a rough guide, go through Uhoh's list. Nobody can really design it all. Different people will be working on engines, guidance, and so on. But you can at least identify the parts and make some reasonable selections.

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Rocket designing is a complex task, and so is learning about it. I doubt that a checklist of any kind can be efficient. You need to find your own path of learning that best suits you.

A good approach is to start playing with various rocket designs in safety of computer simulations. One particularly good and engaging "simulator" is called Kerbal Space Program. It is a video game that can teach you a whole lot about space engineering. And you can blow up as many rockets as you want while learning, something that, sadly, you will not be allowed to do once you start designing real rockets.

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  • $\begingroup$ Trust me, Kerbal is what got me started and it was all down hill from there in building up my ambition, I play Kerbal on a PS4 so mods aren't available nor is it able to pull of complex Ultra-Heavy Launch Vehicle (UHLV) designs. $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 10 at 16:57
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    $\begingroup$ Do not worry about mods and UHLV designs, important thing is to get introduced to the main parts of a rocket and the overall rocket configuration. Then you can pursue understanding the parts in details, though it is OK to go in steps and learn only concepts first. Other two answers are giving you good paths to pursue, I could only add that it could be beneficial to understand the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation early and how it can drive a design. $\endgroup$ – Nemanja Jan 10 at 17:28
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    $\begingroup$ Difference between these two masses is fuel. Your rocket will have mass of 1.307 metric tons before the fuel is added. This includes the engines, the fuel tanks, the payload, all of the structure. Once you add the fuel, you have the starting mass of 64 metric tons. Then when you hit the launch button, when the launch starts, rocket is with the starting mass. At the end of the burn, when all the fuel is used up, rocket is with the end mass. $\endgroup$ – Nemanja Jan 10 at 18:40
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    $\begingroup$ Okay, I under stand now, how would you do an equation with multiple engines? $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 10 at 18:45
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    $\begingroup$ You would have to consider if the multiple engines are running at the same time or sequentially one after another. In the first case, you can check this question: space.stackexchange.com/questions/25164/…, and for the second case check this: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/138087/… and this: physics.stackexchange.com/questions/2530/… $\endgroup$ – Nemanja Jan 10 at 19:06
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I'm no rocket scientist, but here's a skeleton of a checklist of systems to learn about.

This is a wiki so I hope those skilled in the art will feel free to adjust/improve/rewrite.

  • Tsiolkovsky rocket equation (informs about rocket sizing and fuel requirements for desired delta-V)
  • guidance (information on position and velocity; where am I and where am I going, control surfaces, thrusters, engine throttle, engine gimbal and other thrust vectoring; how to I change where I'm going to get back on my intended path)
  • control (these days a sophisticated, robust and often double/triple redundant real-time computer and software keep rocket on course and monitor all kinds of anomalies and decide what to do about each within milliseconds)
  • meteorology/monitoring sensors (keeps track of all operating conditions to be recorded, fed to computer and sent to ground in real time so if the rocket blows up there will be some record of what might have caused it)
  • communications and telemetry (tell the ground what's going on, receive instructions)
  • fuel containment and distribution (tanks, pipes, pressuring systems, pumps)
  • engines (those big complicated things at the bottom that often explode. Do not try to find the most efficient design, you need to find a sufficient stable design)
  • structural design and integrity (handle compressive forces like air pushing down on the top while engines push up from the bottom, flexure...)
  • aerodynamic design (everything you can do to reduce drag means the fuel can be used to lift more payload mass)
  • thermal design (sources of incredible heat near the bottom and substantial heat on the skin due to drag should not boil propellants, soften structural components or fry sensors or electronics)
  • self destruct (when something goes wrong and the rocket goes someplace it shouldn't)
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks uhoh, your post is a part of the answer because of what @Greg said "With that as a rough guide, go through Uhoh's list. Nobody can really design it all. Different people will be working on engines, guidance, and so on. But you can at least identify the parts and make some reasonable selections." $\endgroup$ – BigStar Aerospace Jan 10 at 17:12

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