Course Title: Spaceflight Systems Design

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Spaceflight Systems Design

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


115H Aerospace, Mechanical & Manufacturing Engineering


Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2010,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2015,
Sem 2 2016

Course Coordinator: Dr Hideaki Ogawa

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 6042

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

Completion of AERO2252 Design for Manufacture and Assembly and that of AERO2355 Systems Engineering would be an advantage for this course.

Course Description

The course provides essential knowledge for the understanding of the design of spacecraft systems and the investigation of the critical design issues associated with space missions. It addresses real issues drawing upon the experience of past and ongoing missions, with particular emphasis placed on critical analysis of the system design in consideration of the mission requirements within constraints under the influence of the spacecraft environment. Lectures are delivered to cover the mission elements including the spacecraft, payload, and launch systems as well as the spacecraft subsystems such as the power, propulsion, attitude/thermal control, and telecommunications. It also introduces basic information on fundamental physics and environmental factors that affect the design and behaviour of the spacecraft, launch vehicle, and propulsion systems.


Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course develops and assesses the following program learning outcomes of the Bachelor of Engineering (Honours):

  • In-depth understanding of specialist bodies of knowledge within the engineering discipline
  • Fluent application of engineering techniques, tools and resources
  • Application of systematic engineering synthesis and design processes
  • Application of systematic approaches to the conduct and management of engineering projects
  • Effective oral and written communication in professional and lay domains
  • Effective team membership and team leadership

Course Learning Outcomes (CLOs)

On completion of this course you should be able to

  1. Analyse spacecraft missions and understand rationales behind design
  2. Define mission parameters, objectives and requirements
  3. Undertake conceptual design of spacecraft to fulfil specified missions
  4. Identify key design drivers and critical issues for spacecraft missions
  5. Explain nature of past spaceflight failures and develop strategies for future missions
  6. Work within and effectively contribute to activities of cross-disciplinary design team

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities include formal lectures to ensure base knowledge for essential disciplines followed by tutorial sessions to provide guidance for software tools. The key learning activity is project based where a student team is formed to conduct group activities for a selected spacecraft mission. The team will examine the chosen existing mission to understand the rationale behind the design and conduct in-depth analysis to identify critical issues. It will then summarise the gained knowledge and develop a design proposal for improvements to present in a form of a detailed report and technical presentation. The members will work closely as a team with a particular focus on the assigned disciplines and subsystems for which each member is responsible, reporting and discussing in regular meetings. The student experience includes a rigorous decision making process and thorough design reviews based on and trade-off studies for conflicting requirements. By working in a team the students will learn to work and interact with peers, assuming professional conduct 

Overview of Learning Resources

You will use various reference books and documents available in the library as well as online resources. A software package STK from AGI will be used actively for mission analysis and design, playing a major role in the learning activities. Specialised resource materials will also be made available as necessary.

Overview of Assessment

X This course has no hurdle requirements.

☐ All hurdle requirements for this course are indicated clearly in the assessment regime that follows, against the relevant assessment task(s) and all have been approved by the College Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor (Learning & Teaching).


Assessment Tasks


Assessment Task 1: Spacecraft Mission Project
Weighting 45%
This assessment task supports CLOs 1 – 6

Assessment Task 2: Class Tests
Weighting 30%
This assessment task supports CLO 1 – 4

Assessment Task 3: Software Skill Tests
Weighting 20%
This assessment task supports CLO 1 – 4

Assessment 4: Peer Assessment
Weighting 5%
This assessment supports CLOs 1, 4 & 6