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Unit information: Space Systems in 2021/22

Unit name Space Systems
Unit code AENG22300
Credit points 10
Level of study I/5
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Lucy Berthoud
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of Aerospace Engineering
Faculty Faculty of Engineering


The unit introduces spacecraft engineering from a system level perspective. First students learn about the context of space exploration through a history of space lecture. Then payloads as the drivers of mission design are examined. After this, orbital mechanics is covered in some lectures up to Hohmann transfer level. Labs are used to reinforce understanding of orbital mechanics with a short piece of coursework using the orbit modelling software to assess understanding of calculations and terminology.

Propulsion and launchers follow with calculations of delta V. Then spacecraft subsystems are covered next (including power, thermal, communications, mechanical systems, AOCS), with an emphasis on how these systems work together to deliver a specific mission. A blackboard quiz provides feedback to give students a chance to test themselves. The course finishes with two industrial satellite case studies, at least one of these is provided by industry. Example sheets, examples classes, videos and demonstrations support the learning throughout.

Intended learning outcomes

On successful completion of the course students will be able to:

LO1 - Perform simple calculations for Keplerian orbits and transfers
LO2 – Explain terminology used to describe orbits
LO3 – Perform simple calculations for rockets
LO4 – Perform simple calculations for spacecraft subsystems
LO5 – Describe the constituents and functioning of the spacecraft subsystems, including propulsion
LO6 – Describe mission examples of subsystem design implementation.

Teaching details

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous sessions, which may include lectures, practical activities supported by drop-in sessions, problem sheets and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Details

100% January timed assessment


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. AENG22300).