MEng Aerospace Engineering

Year of entry: 2021

Coronavirus information for applicants and offer-holders

We understand that prospective students and offer-holders may have concerns about the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The University is following the advice from Universities UK, Public Health England and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Read our latest coronavirus information

Course unit details:
Space Systems

Unit code MACE21111
Credit rating 10
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 1
Offered by Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering Division (L5)
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

The design and operation of spacecraft is a multidisciplinary operation covering many aspects of engineering. This course provides an introduction to the physics of orbits and the space environment. The basic physics of spacecraft propulsion, orbit manoeuvres and the key drivers for thermal design, power systems, communication systems and attitude control systems are introduced. 

This course unit detail provides the framework for delivery in 20/21 and may be subject to change due to any additional Covid-19 impact.  Please see Blackboard / course unit related emails for any further updates

Aims

This course is intended to introduce students to the topic of spacecraft flight and spacecraft subsystems to develop an understanding of the basic analytical techniques and the key concepts in this area. On completion this course students will have a basic understanding of spacecraft applications, mechanics of orbits, basics of spacecraft propulsion, thermal design, power systems, communications systems, attitude control system and the influence of the spacecraft environment on spacecraft design. 

Syllabus

1. Space Environment : (1hr)
Students will develop an understanding of the various environmental factors that influence spacecraft design and be able to describe these factors and their effects on design and identify particular orbits where certain factors may dominate.

2. Orbit mechanics: (3hrs)
Students will develop an understanding of the derivation of the velocity equation for the two body problem and will be able to apply these equations to analyse satellite motion. Students will be introduced to the concepts of n-body problems.

3. Orbit transfers and manoeuvres (2hrs)
Students will be able to apply the velocity equations developed from two body motion to derive and determine delta vee requirements and order of required burns for single burn transfers, two burn transfers such as the Hohmann minimum energy transfer, rendezvous manoeuvres and plane change manoeuvres. Students will also be able to assess the relative pros and cons of transfer methods such as the bi-elliptic transfer and the one tangent transfer.

4. Propulsion & Launch vehicles (3hrs)
Students will be introduced to basic propulsion system analysis using the rocket equation and will be introduced to the key types of spacecraft propulsion systems. Students will be able to undertake analysis of launch system designs including multistage systems using the ideal rocket equation and be aware of the limitations of this analysis. Students will develop an understanding of optimum staging for multistage systems. Students will be able to describe the influence of launch site location on the required delta vee to reach Earth orbit.

5. Thermal design(2hrs)
Students will be introduced to the basic physics of spacecraft thermal design, radiative balance, material properties, passive control techniques, active control techniques. Students will be able to undertake basic analysis of equilibrium temperature of a spacecraft as well as basic temporal analysis.

6. Power systems (2hrs)
Students will be introduced to the key technologies employed in spacecraft power systems; Solar arrays, Batteries, Alternative power sources. Students will be able to undertake basic analysis of power systems requirements and sizing.

7. Communications(2hrs)
Students will be introduced to spacecraft  communications architecture, Radio frequency digital modulation and encoding and communications Link budget analysis. Students will be able to undertake basic analysis of communication systems using the link budget equation.

8. Attitude control (2hrs)
Students will be introduced to the key technologies employed in spacecraft attitude determination and control. Students will be able to undertake basic analysis of requirements for attitude control systems.

Knowledge and understanding


 

Practical skills


 

Assessment methods

Method Weight
Other 20%
Written exam 80%

Other - assessed tutorial work

 

Feedback methods

Written feedback on individual assessed tutorial sheets – 2 weeks after submission
Oral general group feedback on tutorial sheets – 2 weeks after submission
 

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
eAssessment 6
Lectures 18
Tutorials 10
Independent study hours
Independent study 66

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Katherine Smith Unit coordinator

Return to course details