Introduction to Space Flight

1 July - 31 December 2012

Location: Home study - self paced course
Held in conjunction with:
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By the time you finish this course, you will be able to plan a geocentric or interplanetary mission to include the determination of suitable trajectories, the approximate velocity budget (the energy required), the approximate weight (mass) and number of stages of the booster, and the problems and options associated with the terminal phase(s) of the mission. You'll learn fundamental concepts and analytical expressions. And all you'll need is a hand calculator.

Key Topics
  • The relevant two-body Newtonian equations of motion.
  • Geocentric orbits, their parameters and characteristics.
  • Inter-orbital transfers.
  • Interplanetary transfers and trajectories.
  • Rocket propulsion fundamentals and parameters.
  • Planetary flybys and gravity-assisted trajectory corrections.
  • The ballistic missile problem

Who Should Attend

Anyone who is interested in the performance and operational aspects of space flight. The mathematical skills required are basic for engineers and scientists. All important equations are developed sufficiently so that the student can appreciate their source and significance. The emphasis throughout the course will be on fundamental concepts and analytical expressions rather than on "cookbook" and detailed numerical solutions. In consonance with the idea of emphasizing concepts and fundamentals, all exercises and problems can be solved with a hand calculator. However, students will be free to use spreadsheets or other computer solutions of their choice.