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Space Systems & Space Subsystems

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    Technical Training Short On Site Course Quote This 4-day course in space systems and space subsystems engineering is for technical and management personnel who wish to gain an understanding of the important technical concepts in the development of space instrumentation, subsystems, and systems. The goal is to assist students to achieve their professional potential by endowing them with an understanding of the basics of subsystems and the supporting disciplines important to developing space instrumentation, space subsystems, and space systems. It designed for participants who expect to plan, design, build, integrate, test, launch, operate or manage subsystems, space systems, launch vehicles, spacecraft, payloads, or ground systems. The objective is to expose each participant to the fundamentals of each subsystem and their inter-relations, to not necessarily make each student a systems engineer, but to give aerospace engineers and managers a technically based space systems perspective. The fundamental concepts are introduced and illustrated by state-of-the-art examples. This course differs from the typical space systems course in that the technical aspects of each important subsystem are addressed. The textbook "Fundamentals of Space Systems" published by Oxford University Press will be provided to all attendees.



    Dr. Vincent L. Pisacane was the Robert A. Heinlein Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the United States Naval Academy where he taught courses in space exploration and its physiological effects, space communications, astrodynamics, space environment, space communication, space power systems, and the design of spacecraft and space instruments. He was previously at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he was the Head of the Space Department, Director of the Institute for Advanced Science and Technology in Medicine, and Assistant Director for Research and Exploratory Development. He concurrently held a joint academic appointment in biomedical engineering at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has been the principal investigator on several NASA funded grants on space radiation, orbital debris, and the human thermoregulatory system. He is a fellow of the AIAA. He currently teaches graduate courses in space systems engineering at the Johns Hopkins University. In addition he has taught short courses on these topics. He has authored over a hundred papers on space systems and bioastronautics.

    Contact this instructor (please mention course name in the subject line)

Who Should Attend:

    Scientists, engineers, and managers involved in the management, planning, design, fabrication, integration, test, or operation of space instruments, space subsystems, and spacecraft. The course will provide an understanding of the space subsystems and disciplines necessary to develop a space instrument and spacecraft and the systems engineering approach to integrate these into a successful mission.

Course Outline:

  1. Systems Overview. Recent spacecraft missions are discussed to provide an overall perspective of some challenging missions

  2. Space Systems Engineering. Introductory concepts. Fundamentals of systems engineering. System development process. Engineering reviews. Cost estimating. Earned value.

  3. Risk Management and Failure Analyses. Environmental induced failures. Failure analyses. Weibull distribution. Fault-tree analyses. Failure modes effects analyses. Reliability and quality control. Technology readiness levels.

  4. Space Environment. Geomagnetic field, Solar activity. Neutral and ionized atmosphere. Spacecraft charging. Magnetosphere and trapped particles. Space Radiation. Orbital debris

  5. Astrodynamics. Fundamentals of dynamics. Celestial reference frames. Time systems. Two-body central force motion. Trajectory perturbations. Orbit determination. Interplanetary missions. Libration points. Gravitational assists. Aerobraking.

  6. Spacecraft Propulsion, Flight Mechanics, and Launch Systems. Rocket propulsion. Force-free rocket motion. Rocket motion with gravity. Launch flight mechanics. Solid and liquid propulsion. Ion propulsion. Nuclear propulsion.

  7. Spacecraft Attitude Determination. Attitude specifications. Attitude orientation sensors. Attitude rate sensors. Attitude determination.

  8. Spacecraft Attitude Control. Spacecraft disturbance torques. Spacecraft control sources. Passive attitude control systems. Active attitude control systems.

  9. Space Power Systems. Energy sources and applicability. Power distribution and control. Solar power and environmental effects on solar cells. Nuclear power. Energy storage. Battery characteristics.

  10. Space Thermal Control. Fundamentals of thermal control. Heat transfer and energy balance. Thermal design and testing processes.

  11. Configuration and Structural Design. Structural design requirements. Subsystem mass guidelines. Design margins. Factors of safety. Types of structures. Test criteria.

  12. Space Communications. Satellite coverage. Propagation. System noise. Digital communications. Link analysis. Coding.


    Tuition for this four day course is $2045 per person at one of our scheduled public courses. Onsite pricing is available. Please call us at 410-956-8805 or send an email to

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