Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics and Space Systems Engineering - Online Short Course (Starts Apr 9, 2021) 9 April - 23 April 2021 Online

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  • 9, 16, 23 April 2021 (3 Full Days, Bootcamp-style)
  • Fridays at 1100-1800 Eastern Time (0800-1500 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.
  • Includes a copy of the course textbook Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics 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 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.

Learning Objectives 

  • Comprehend space mission Capabilities, Trade-offs, and Limitations - Explain how and why space is used to provide capabilities on Earth
  • Gain Core Space Knowledge - Define and describe important astronautics terms and concepts
  • 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]

Who Should Attend

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)

  •  Non-Member Price: $1195 USD
  •  AIAA Member Price: $995 USD
  • AIAA Student Member Price: $495 USD

Contact: Please contact Jason Cole (jasonc@aiaa.org) or Customer Service if you have any questions about the course or group discounts.

Course Outline


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

• History of early explorers and the coming of the space age


Orbits & Trajectories

• The Space Environment

• Understanding Orbits

• 2-body Problem and Constants of Motion

• COEs, Ground Tracks and Basic Orbits

• Perturbations and Special Orbits

• Maneuvers, Rendezvous

• Launch & Reentry


Space Systems

• Observation Payloads

• Electrical Power

• Attitude and Orbit Control

• Communication, Data Handling

• Structures and Thermal

• Rockets, Launch Vehicles


The course lectures will be delivered via a Microsoft Teams virtual classroom. Connection information will be provided to registrants near to the course start date.

Each registrant will receive:

· A copy of the course text Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics

· A complete set of course notes with copies of all slides used in the presentations

· TSTI Alumni status allowing on-line access to course materials, including tools and videos through the Alumni Lounge

· A demo copy of Systems Tool Kit software by AGI

Between classes, the instructor will be available via email for technical questions and comments.

Dr. Jerry Jon Sellers of Teaching Science and Technology Inc. (TSTI) is the author of Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics, a contributing author and editor of Applied Space Systems Engineering, and 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 Space Systems Technical Committee. Jerry is a certified Scaled Agile Program Consultant and a corresponding member of the International Academy of Astronautics. He is also an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.