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SESA3037 Concurrent Spacecraft Design

Module Overview

This module is a spacecraft design module, which will build on the understanding and knowledge gained from the Space Systems Engineering and Advanced Astronautics modules in part 3, as well as the modules covered in part 2. The Concurrent Spacecraft Design module will place those “building blocks” of spacecraft engineering into the context of a group spacecraft design project, with a particular emphasis on concurrent design.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

To undertake an industrially relevant spacecraft design exercise using principles studied in the Space Systems Engineering module, enabling you to apply knowledge and understanding in a functional manner. Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to apply project management and systems engineering skills to a real-world spacecraft design, taking into account relevant standards and regulations (including those focusing on environmental impacts). You will be able to understand the different roles and responsibilities of team members in spacecraft design projects, recognise the need for data management tools and use these for enabling concurrent design practices, understand the role of computer simulations in the spacecraft design process and apply these tools to spacecraft design problems, and communicate your work in written form and verbally.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • How to use good management practices for space projects.
  • How different roles contribute to spacecraft design projects.
  • How data management and simulation tools can be used to support spacecraft design.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Critically analyse alternative spacecraft design configurations and options.
  • Identify and apply appropriate data management and design software solutions to spacecraft design.
  • Design space missions using a concurrent design approach.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Work as part of a team.
  • Collate and prioritise information according to design objectives.
  • Solve problems systematically and concurrently.
  • Communicate design choices and justifications using written and verbal methods.


The module will focus on the design of a small-satellite mission that will require understanding of spacecraft subsystems (knowledge coming from SESA2024 Astronautics and SESA3039 Advanced Astronautics), space systems engineering and space project management (knowledge from SESA3041 Spacecraft Systems Engineering & Design ). The module will comprise group work, based in a computer laboratory, to develop the spacecraft design. In addition, computer-based sessions will introduce concurrent spacecraft design software, an industrial standard design software tool for spacecraft (Systems Tool Kit) and a debris environment tool to assess the regulatory aspects of the space mission.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Teaching methods include: • Computer labs • Regular design reviews Learning activities include: • Software-based tutorials • Individual and group work

Project supervision40
Supervised time in studio/workshop12
Preparation for scheduled sessions16
Wider reading or practice34
Follow-up work16
Completion of assessment task32
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Systems Tool Kit (software). Systems Tool Kit (software) Provided by the Faculty

P.W. Fortescue, J.P.W. Stark and G.G. Swinerd (editors) (2011). Spacecraft Systems Engineering. 

Concurrent Spacecraft Design Environment (software). Concurrent Spacecraft Design Environment (software) Provided by the Faculty





MethodPercentage contribution
Conference paper 40%
Group presentation 20%
Individual report 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Conference paper 40%
Group presentation 20%
Individual report 40%


MethodPercentage contribution
Technical report 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: SESA3039 and SESA3041

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