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Charles Vick — Senior Technical Analyst

Charles P. Vick has served as an aerospace researcher, analyst, writer, lecturer, commentator, illustrator and consultant on Russian and Chinese space and ballistic missile systems, as well as international space technology and policy issues. He is world-renowned for his detailed technical illustrations and analysis of Russian, Chinese, North Korean, and Iranian missiles, space boosters and space vehicles. His research and illustrations have been utilized by the Congressional Research Service, the Office of Technology Assessment, Department of Defense, and NASA, as well as numerous publications around the world. Charles P. Vick has more than four decades of experience in Soviet space technology and international space assessment for design and policy issues.

A renowned Sovietologist, he is one of a half-dozen primary Western analysts of the former Soviet republics' space launch vehicles, operations, and technologies. Today Vick has over 2,000 Soviet space volumes in his personal library in addition to many English language volumes on Soviet space technology.

Vick was the first person to publish attempted drawing reconstruction of the N1-L3 and Proton boosters which were published world-wide before original pictures became available, as noted in Izvestiya and Red Star some years ago. This was published in both the British Interplanetary Society's Spaceflight Magazine and in Mr. Kenneth W. Gatland's Space Technology Encyclopedia. To his credit, Vick has had in excess of 146 copyrighted articles and illustrations of Russian space hardware published in scholarly publications. Among these were various publications done for the Congressional Research Service, Science Policy Office of the Library of Congress, and the former Office of Technology Assessment studies for the U.S. Congress.

He has conducted many government and aerospace industry briefings that have led to the creation of cooperative programs and joint ventures with Russia's aerospace industry. His work has also led to many dozens of lectures for the general public and professional conferences. He played a central role in starting the process of acquiring Russian rocket engine technology for application to U.S. launchers. Furthermore, he developed the first Western Russian Proton launch vehicle operator's manual.

Vick, who has studied, chronicled, and illustrated the Soviet space program, has concentrated his efforts on the Soviet launch vehicles and manned lunar heavy booster Nl-L3 and Proton/Zond programs experience, history, details, and lessons learned. This continues on a larger scale today. Besides completing an Associate of Applied Science degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology, he has attended many seminars to extend his historical, political, economic and technological studies of the Soviet space industry. He has continued his studies under the late Dr. Charles S. Sheldon II, formerly of the National Aeronautics and Space Council staff and later chief of CRS-SP, Consultant Prof. James T. Westwood of GWU and AFCEA, a former NIE Board member.

Prior to joining GlobalSecurity.org, Vick worked as a research analyst at the Federation of American Scientists. In addition to continuing to develop the seventh greatly enlarged Nl-L3 book-length case study, he continued to work as a consultant on the Proton launch vehicle and its commercial satellite integration issues.


  • Globalsecurity.org February 1, 2003 - Present: Senior Technical & Policy Analyst on U.S., Chinese, Russian, North Korean and Iranian strategic missile, space programs.
  • Federation of American Scientists April 1994 – (October 17, 1994 – February 24, 2003): Senior Research Analyst to the chief of the Space Policy Division. Responsible for analyses of Russian, Chinese, and other foreign space and ballistic missile programs.
  • Alabama Space and RocketCenter (ASRC) January 1986–August 1989: Supervisor - ASRC/NASA Visitor’s Information Center, to Librarian/Archivist.
  • Bechtel Corp. June 1974 - March 1985: Draftsman, technician, and later planner on the Standardized Nuclear Utility Power Plant Station (SNUPPS)


  • Congressional Research Service (Science Policy Research Division), Consultant in 1971-1975 on staff report on Soviet Space Programs.
  • National Geographic Magazine – Consultant for the magazine on space issues including the 1985 issue “Are the Soviets Ahead in Space?” and a March - April, 2003 china’s manned space program research effort.
  • ILS International Launch Services, (Lockheed Martin Co) - Consultation on and illustrations for Proton Launch System User’s Guide, Revisions 1 (1993) and 2 (1995).
  • Space Commerce Corp. Consulted (1986-1989, 1991, 2001) on Soviet launch vehicles, and space facilities including their Mission Planner’s Manual for the Proton commercial launch vehicle as part of the first Soviet/American team to study the interface between a U.S satellite payload and a Soviet launch vehicle.
  • Martin Marietta (Denver, Co.) Consulted in 1987 on Soviet life support and simulator training facilities.
  • Office of Technology Assessment, (US Congress) - Illustrator, reviewer and consultant (1984-85) on “ U.S. – Soviet Cooperation in Space” report.
  • General Electric, Co. ( Washington, D.C.), Consulted in 1984 on Soviet space toilet facilities as alternate to U.S Space Shuttle design.
  • Aerospace America Magazine (AIAA), December 1989 - Soviet Manned Lunar Program Analysis.
  • Phillips Publishing, Reviewer and writer on Russian communications satellites for their 1993 Satellite Systems Handbook.
  • Salamander Books Limited, Illustrator, writer, and consultant for “The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Space Technology.”
  • Russian Space Industry - Coordinated and edited the publication compiled by the late Dr. Maxim V. Tarasenko, and Ivan M. Moiseyev of the Russian Institute of Space Policy for the Federation of American Scientists.
  • Freelance writing - 1990–1994 -Present - Articles and illustrations for Aviation Week & Space Technology, Air & Cosmos, Novosti Kosmonavtiki, Spaceflight and JBIS Journal of the British Interplanetary Society, Soviet Aerospace, Russian Aerospace Technology, Space Business News, Space Station News, & Defense Daily.
  • Russian Rocket Engine Technology Briefings - Huntsville, Alabama the 1980's, Red Star ‑ 2000 ( January 26-28, 1988) for aerospace Industry, NASA and U. S. Government agencies.
  • Expert Commentary for Magazines, Newspapers, Radio and Television Networks 1997-2009 Commentary & background provided for numerous organizations (The New York Times, LA Times, ABC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, NPR, BBC, CBC, FOX, Discovery Channels U.S. & Canada, Japan, etc.) on U.S, Russian and Chinese space programs.


A.A.S. Mechanical Engineering Technology, Old Dominion University, 1970.