Ukrainian contribution to work SpaceX: As an engineer from Zhytomyr helps to plant missiles Falcon

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The whole world is buzzing about the successful launch of the Falcon Heavy super-heavy rocket launcher, which Ilona Maska Company implemented in February 6. This is an historic event without exaggeration, and all those involved in it became heroes.

One of them - Ukrainian Alexei Pakhunov, who played an important role in SpaceX space adventures. He was responsible for the successful landing of the Falcon 9 in the 2015 year, and in February 6 was sitting in the first line of Mission Control, reportsNational Industrial Portal.

Alexey Pakhunov, born in Zhytomyr, obtained his education at Khmelnytsky Technological University "Podillya" (now the Khmelnytsky National University), specializing in Computer Systems and Networks.

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  • In the year 2004 moved to Denmark, working at the Microsoft office in Copenhagen. Before that, he also managed to live and work in Romania. In 2006, he was transferred to the Windows Kernel team and moved to Redmond, Wash. He then worked in one of the groups Microsoft Research. And in 2012, I went to Google, where I worked on Chrome Remote Desktop.

    Alex went from Ukraine at the beginning of 2000 and today the conversations about politics are ignored, trying to avoid around the political issues, if possible.

    Mainly because of the extremely low efficiency of such disputes. And after the events of recent years - and even more so, - he emphasizes.

    In the middle of the 2013 year, Oleksii contacted the SpaceX recruiter and made a proposal to him, which made it difficult for a Ukrainian to abandon.

    I could combine two of my favorite hobbies: programming and space, "says Pashunov.

    Today, he is a senior software developer in the Flight Software, SpaceX group.

    By that time the company was already too big with IlonMaskAlex interview did not pass. Personally, with the founder and chief executive officer of the company, he only crossed several times.

    The first one is on a friend's seat in the restaurant, the second one is in quite stressful circumstances, when it was necessary to quickly make a difficult decision. Meetings in the restaurant I liked more, - admits Alex.

    Ilon is well versed in engineering; He has a good sense of working solutions to complex engineering problems. Moreover, he has a good way to solve engineering problems with business methods. Let's say, you're faced with the problem that your main application is too slow to process data. A naive engineering approach to address this problem is to spend X hours on optimizing the code. A slightly less naive approach is to buy ten times as many servers. This is probably not very effective, but it may be justifiable when it comes to the company's core function. The mask in this situation can say that in general optimization of data processing - absolutely not the problem that needs to be dealt with. You just have to reduce the flow of input data and do not steam up. This will not only resolve the original problem, but also help in a dozen other places where a large amount of data created problems. It remains only to find a way to reduce the amount of incoming data ...

    It seems to me that such "conceptual" thinking is at the same time the reason why the Mask comes out, and the reason why the terms constantly crawl to the right.

    About 100 people work in the team of Alexis Falcon Software. They write code for rockets and ground infrastructure. In flight and systems serving the flight, is used with C ++ and Linux. In less critical systems, Python and other languages ​​are widely used.

    According to Alexei, from any other software code for Falcon is characterized by high requirements for reliability and predictability of behavior.

    If Word or a page in a browser can drop with minimal impact, then on a rocket it is fraught with millions of losses and possible human casualties. It affects the architecture, data processing methods and the style of writing the code, - explained Pashunov.

    Absolute code performance is less important than a stable runtime. Simple code is welcomed - it's easier to test and test.

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    The SpaceX engineers' mode of operation is really tough, although the Passion does not seem to be embarrassing.

    Time for rest and privacy remains, though, if you ask my wife, she will not agree with me. At SpaceX, it's easy to work around the clock, "he says. The company is trying to organize the workflow in such a way as to minimize extra-curricular work, but can not completely eliminate it.

    The launch time depends on the orbit, and not on the working schedule. Pre-start training is deducted from the start-up time. I would say that I work 45-50 hours a week.

    Due to the fact that SpaceX falls under the control of ITAR (the law on arms control, including the access of foreigners to potentially military technology), only US citizens or permanent residents (happy owners of green cards) can become employees of the company. There is also an option to get a so-called export license.

    SpaceX has both a purely programmatic position and a position for physics programmers. First write code, the second develops algorithms for management and navigation. Speaking of the first, the company looks first of all at the ability of a specialist to write a reliable code on C ++ with an understanding of how the computer works at different levels, and the ability to apply this knowledge to solve practical problems.

    One of my favorite questions in the interview sounds like this.

    Tell me as much as possible about what happens when the network card has received a package with the last piece of the HTML page, and until the browser overwrites the image on the screen. This question allows you to talk about the interaction with iron, process scheduler, network protocols, memory management, event handling, isolation of applications from each other, JIT compilation, graphics subsystem, etc.

    According to Pashunov, SpaceX is not looking for any special "aerospace programmers." The relevant work experience (on C ++, closer to iron) often has immigrants from the gaming industry, system developers, developers of embedded / server applications.


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