Space Mission Operations – Online Short Course Online

  • Space Mission Operations is the ideal course for systems engineers, payload principle investigators, subsystem engineers or project managers who are responsible for the detailed design and operation of space systems.
  • Includes a copy of the course textbook Cost Effective Mission Operations (edited by Boden and Larson) and a complete set of course notes
  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course


This exciting, fast-paced 4-day course explores the challenge of designing and implementing space mission operations in a practical, cost-effective way in the real world. Taking a functional approach, the course provides an in-depth view of the entirety of space mission operations, including the concept of operations and all functions that are performed in support of a space mission. Interactive discussions focus on initial requirements definition, operations concept development, functional allocation among spacecraft, payload, ground system and operators. Students get extensive hands-on experience with a variety of mission operations modeling tools to understand physical constraints and appreciate the impact of programmatic trade-offs. Case studies of ongoing NASA, DoD and commercial missions are examined.

The course will be approached through:

  • Guided lectures and discussion
  • Historical documentaries
  • Hands-on exercises
  • Current Mission Case Studies in Operations
    • FalconSAT
    • ISS
    • Cygnus
    • Kratos quantumCMD ground hardware/software
    • EchoStar
    • LRO
    • Others

Learning Objectives

  • Define and explain the critical activities of space mission operations
  • Develop a mission concept of operations (ConOps) and be able to critically analyze one of these key documents
  • Describe the elements that contribute to mission operations complexity and perform trade-off analyses to reduce that complexity
  • Apply principles of orbital mechanics to plan and implement key operations activities
  • Describe and analyze key elements of mission ground systems including communication link budgets
  • Compare and contrast operations concepts for military, civil, scientific and human space missions
  • Develop the planning, execution and support requirements for real-time space mission operations

Who Should Attend
Systems engineers, payload principle investigators, subsystem engineers or project managers who are responsible for the detailed design and operation of space systems.


Course Introduction and Overview
  • Course Introduction
  • Mission Operations Overview
Mission Operations Planning
    • Concept of Operations (ConOps) Development
    • Operations Complexity
    Tracking and Navigation
    • Understanding and Using Orbits
    • Predicting Orbits
    Mission Data Receipt and Delivery
    • Introduction to Telemetry, Tracking, and  Commanding (TT&C)
    • Ground Systems and Communication Architectures
    Spacecraft Support and Analysis
    • Environmental Effects and Spacecraft Design
    • Contingency Planning and Anomalies
    Flight Control and Training
    • Activities, Roles and Responsibilities
    • Organization and Training

    Course Delivery and Materials

      • Classes will not be recorded.
      • You can test your connection here:
      • Connection information will be provided to registrants near the course start date.
      • Course Notes: A complete set of course notes with copies of all slides used in the presentations
      • TSTI Alumni status allowing online access to course materials, including tools and videos through the Alumni Lounge


    The course will be instructed by one or more of the aerospace systems experts from Teaching Science and Technology Inc. (TSTI):

    Dr. Jerry Jon Sellers, is the author of Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics, and is a contributing author and editor ofApplied Space Systems Engineering,author of the new chapter in ASSE on Applied Model-based Systems Engineering, as well as a contributing author of Human Spaceflight Analysis and Design.He has over 30 years of space systems experience including Guidance & On-board Navigation Officer in Space Shuttle Mission Control; Assistant Professor of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Chief of Astronautics for the Air Force European Office of Aerospace Research & Development. He is an Associate Fellow at AIAA and the former Chairman of the AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee.He is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics and is a Certified Scaled-Agile Program Consultant. He is also an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology and certified Scaled-Agile Framework (SAFe) Program Consultant (SPC5). Jerry is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics.

      Dr. Peter Van Wirt
       is a former Deputy Department Head for Labs and Research of the Department of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy. He has been a visiting lecturer for the Technical University of Delft’s SpaceTech Master’s Degree in Space Systems Engineering and is an Adjunct Professor for the Space Systems Engineering Master’s program at Stevens Institute of Technology. He also instructs at the National Security Space Institute in Colorado Springs, CO. He has served as a systems engineer/program manager for a variety of US Air Force engineering developments. Peter has over 30 years of aerospace engineering experience and over 20 years teaching experience. He earned his doctorate at Utah State University.

        Dr. Bruce Chesley is an experienced space program manager and industry executive. He served as the Chief Strategist for a space system portfolio spanning human spaceflight, commercial satellites, and government space systems and he led the early development of a global broadband satellite constellation. He has also delivered advanced space systems and prototypes while serving in a variety of roles in program management, business development and engineering. His Air Force assignments included Air Force Space Command, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the USAF Academy where he was an Assistant Professor of Astronautics. He was elected to the International Academy of Astronautics in 2020 and serves as a Vice President on the Bureau of the International Astronautical Federation. He has published more than 20 technical papers and book chapters on satellite design and space systems engineering. He is also an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.


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