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American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

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    Course Outline

    Introduction to Space Systems



    Course Outline:

    I. Organization and scope of the course. Space enterprise. Government and commercial space. Space expenditures. Main U.S. participants in space enterprise.


    II. Solar System. Coordinate systems. Solar system. Planets. Coordinate systems. Time. Sun. Solar cycle. Plasma. Sun’s electromagnetic radiation. Solar wind.

    III. Space environment and spacecraft interaction. Atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere. Geomagnetic field. Drag. Atomic oxygen. Radiation belts and shielding. Geomagnetic storms and space weather. Space debris.

    IV. Basics of orbital mechanics. Motion in gravitational field. Classical orbit elements. Two-line element format. Orbital maneuvers. Hohmann transfer. Orbit plane change.

    V. Common orbits and space mission geometry. Launch sites. Launch to GEO. Forces acting on satellites. Sun-synchronous, Molniya, geostationary orbits. Eclipses. Satellite ground track and swath. Constellations.

    VI. Mission support systems. Space mission overview. Ground stations. DSN, AFSCN, TDRSS, GPS. Space Laser Ranging (SLR). Mission design basics. Life cycle. Reviews. Flowdown of requirements. Technology readiness levels. Systems engineering.

    VII.  Spacecraft propulsion. Propulsion requirements. Thrust, specific impulse. Rocket equation. Cooling methods. Liquid and solid propulsion systems. Electric propulsion.

    VIII.  Launch systems. Space launchers. Launch environment. Fairing. Atlas and Delta launch families. Launch integration and planning.

    IX.  Attitude determination and control. Spacecraft attitude. Angular momentum. Environmental disturbance torques. Attitude sensors. Attitude control techniques (configurations). Stability of spinners. Momentum and reaction wheels.

    X. Space communications. Communications basics. Decibel language. Antennas. Antenna gain. TWTA and SSA. Noise. Bit rate. Communication link. Effects of atmosphere, rain. Bit error rate. Error correction. Convolution code.

    XI. Spacecraft power systems and thermal control. Spacecraft power system elements. Orbital effects. Photovoltaic systems (cells and arrays). RTG. Batteries. Environmental thermal loads. Blackbody concept. Passive thermal control. Coatings. Multilayer insulation (MLI). Active thermal control. Testing.

    XII. Space missions and applications. Science, exploration, commercial, NSS.