Course Title: Microgravity Science

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Microgravity Science

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Coordinator: Dr Gail Iles

Course Coordinator Phone: 03 9925 2610

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 014.06.015

Course Coordinator Availability: By appointment, by email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

It is assumed that you have studied mathematics OR physics OR engineering at the first year university level.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the environment of microgravity.  An object in freefall experiences the sensation of weightlessness such as in parabolic flights or in spacecraft. Experiments performed in this environment yield different results from those performed in Earth-based laboratories.  This course will introduce the various microgravity platforms available for scientific experiments and the physical phenomena they explore. The course expands on basic space exploration knowledge to include thermodynamics, solid state physics, materials science and electromagnetism and how all these phenomena occur differently in space.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course contributes to the development of the following Program Learning Outcomes in BP330 Bachelor of Space Science:


PLO 1.2 You will demonstrate an understanding of the role and relevance of science and engineering in the field of space science and technology.

PLO 2.1 You will have broad knowledge in space science and technology with deep knowledge in its core concepts.

PLO-2.2 You will have knowledge in at least one discipline other than your primary discipline and some understanding of interdisciplinary linkages.

PLO 3.3 You will be able to choose appropriate tools and methods to solve scientific problems within your
area of specialisation.

PLO 3.4 You will demonstrate well-developed problem solving skills, applying your knowledge and using your ability to think analytically and creatively.

PLO 5.1 You will develop a capacity for independent and self-directed work.

PLO 5.2 You will work responsibly, safely, legally and ethically.

PLO 5.3 You will develop an ability to work collaboratively.



After completing this course you will:

  1. Have an intermediate level of knowledge of microgravity platforms
  2. Be able to analyse and solve problems in fields of microgravity science
  3. Be able to design scientific experiments for implementation in microgravity.

You will also gain experience in the application of these concepts to a number of real-life situations, enabling you to make relevant observations, measurements and calculations, to predict the behaviour of nature and to take control over some of its outcomes.

Overview of Learning Activities

The learning activities in this course will include:

  • lectures where material will be presented and explained, and the subject will be illustrated with demonstrations and examples.
  • group exercises and interactive activities that reinforce the importance of clear scientific communication.
  • private study, working through the theory as presented in course material, available texts and notes.
  • online assignments designed to probe an understanding of presented concepts, and to give feedback on student progress and understanding.


Total Study Hours

76 hours. Two (2) hours per week face to face lectures, four (4) hours per semester groupwork activities plus four (4) hours per week private study/project work. 

Overview of Learning Resources

By participating in this course you will be expected to download a copy of the course material from Canvas and have access to the library and internet for research and/or video resources. A list of useful website links and library resources will be provided.

Overview of Assessment

Note that:

This course has no hurdle requirements.


On-going Assessment Tasks:

Assignments:    30% (Addresses CLOs 1-3)

Groupwork:       30% (Addresses CLOs 2, 3)

Examination:     40% (Addresses CLOs 1-3)