Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics and Space Systems Engineering - Online Short Course (March 25-27, 2024) 25 March - 27 March 2024 Online

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Instructed by Teaching Science and Technology Inc. (TSTI) 
  • From March 25 - 27, 2024 (3 5-Hour Days, 15 Hours Total, Class Dates: 25, 26, 27 March)

  • 1200-1700 Eastern Time (0900-1400 Pacific Time)

  • Understanding Space is the ideal course for technical or non-technical professionals new to the space industry or who need a refresher on the fundamentals.

  • All students will receive an AIAA Certificate of Completion at the end of the course

This exciting, fast-paced 3-day course delivers the "big picture" of space missions from cradle to grave. Understanding Space is the ideal course for technical or non-technical professionals new to the space industry or who need a refresher on the fundamentals.


  • Gain Core Space Knowledge - Define and describe important astronautics terms and concepts
  • Comprehend space mission Capabilities, Trade-offs, and Limitations - Explain how and why space is used to provide capabilities on Earth
  • Apply Space Concepts to real-world problems - Calculate basic orbit and system parameters that drive mission scope and cost
  • Analyze Typical Space Problems - Compare and contrast different technical approaches for space missions
  • Synthesize concepts to Design a Space Mission - Design a space mission given some basic goals and objectives and develop a top-level project plan for it
  • Evaluate basic technical and programmatic space issues - Assess the technical merits of various space mission architectures
  • [Detailed Outline Below]

Engineers, scientists, or managers either new to the space field or who want to broaden their understanding of the big picture of space systems and operations. It is the ideal course for technical or non-technical space professionals.

- "Best course I've ever taken!" - Boeing Engineer
- "I finally understand the big picture of what we do." - NASA Scientist
- "Everyone in the space business should take this course." - Lockheed Martin Engineer

    COURSE FEES (Sign-In To Register)
    - AIAA Member Price: $895 USD
    - Non-Member Price: $1095 USD
    - AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

    Classroom Hours: 
    15 classroom hours / 1.5 CEU/PDH

    Cancellation Policy:  
    A refund less a $50.00 cancellation fee will be assessed for all cancellations made in writing prior to 14 days before the start of the event. After that time, no refunds will be provided.

    Please contact Lisa Le or Customer Service if you have any questions about the course or group discounts.

    Course Series:
    In Spring 2024, AIAA and TSTI are offering a series of courses focused on Space Systems Engineering. While courses are completely self-contained and can be taken on their own, those students wishing to deepen their knowledge may be interested in additional course study:


    Space in Our Lives

    • Space in Our Lives
    • Elements of a Space Mission
    • A Brief History of Space
    • The Space Enterprise
    • Space Systems Engineering
    • Mission Management, Space Operations
    • Down to Earth Issues Exploring Space

    Orbits & Trajectories

    • The Space Environment
    • Understanding Orbits
    • Describing & Using Orbits
    • Orbit Design
    • Orbit Maneuvering
    • Ascent and Re-entry

    Space Systems

    • Payload and Spacecraft Design
    • Human Spaceflight
    • Spacecraft Subsystems
    • Rocket Science
    • Launch Vehicles
    Course Delivery and Materials
    • The course lectures will be delivered via a Zoom virtual classroom. Connection information will be provided to registrants near to the course start date. Test your connection here: https://zoom.us/test
    • Classes will not be recorded.
    • Each registrant will receive a complete set of course notes with copies of all slides used in the presentations.
    • Between classes, the instructor will be available via email for technical questions and comments.

    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 of Applied 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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