Spacecraft Systems

Module aims

This course aims to present an industry standard methodology for spacecraft systems analysis and design.  The main concepts covered in this course include:

  1. the mission objectives: requirements analysis, political and regulatory constraints and financial considerations;
  2. the system as a whole: the launch vehicle/launch environment, spacecraft platform and ground segment;
  3. the subsystem requirements: propulsion, thermal, structure, power, electronics, comms and attitude control.

Learning outcomes

•    A good understanding of the complete spacecraft mission objectives and requirements
•    A clear knowledge of the relationship and inter-dependency between spacecraft mission systems and sub-systems
•    An understanding of the impact of analysis and simulation on system design

Module syllabus

Mission Objectives:

  • Requirements
  • Political and regulatory constraints
  • Financial constraints

Complete System:

  • Launch element
  • Spacecraft bus
  • Ground element
  • Mission operations
  • Command, control and communications architecture
  • Subject
  • Orbit and constellation

Subsystem requirements:

  • Thermal
  • Structure
  • Power
  • Command and data handling
  • Telemetry, tracking and command
  • Attitude determination and control
  • Guidance and navigation
  • Propulsion

Teaching methods

Lectures and tutorials.


Examined Assessment
2 hour written examination in the Summer term (100%)