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The University of Southampton
Courses

SESA3039 Advanced Astronautics

Module Overview

This module is essential for anyone interested in pursuing space in the spacecraft theme or as an individual project. It builds on the basics first introduced in Part 2 and looks at each of the key subsystems of a spacecraft in detail. The module includes orbital and trajectory theory, where two-body motion, manoeuvres and special trajectories are described. Sequence and issues during entry, descent and landing (EDL) operations are covered in detail. The module may include design practice on thermal and power sub-system.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

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

  • Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of scientific principles and methodology necessary to underpin orbital mechanics, an understanding and know-how of the scientific principles of designing power and thermal control systems, to enable appreciation of the scientific and engineering context, and to support your understanding of relevant historical, current and future developments and technologies on spacecraft design. (SM1m)
  • A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of mission analysis and designing power and thermal control systems. (SM7m)
  • A critical awareness of current problems related to mission analysis, spacecraft subsystem (ACS/Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) (SM8m)
  • Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for designing mission and spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) and to assess their limitations (EA6m)
  • Knowledge and understanding of mathematical and statistical methods necessary to design spacecraft power, thermal control and mission trajectory, and to enable students to apply a range of mathematical and statistical methods, tools and notations proficiently and critically in the analysis and solution of spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) problems (SM2m)
  • Awareness of developing technologies related to mission analysis, spacecraft subsystem (ACS/Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) (SM4m)
  • A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of mathematical and computational models relevant to orbital mechanics, spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) and an appreciation of their limitations (SM5m)
  • Understanding of concepts relevant to orbital mechanics, spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing), including some outside engineering, and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively in spacecraft design projects (SM6m / SM9m)
  • Knowledge and understanding of the commercial, economic and social context of mission analysis, spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) processes (EL2)
  • Understanding how heat transfer and aerothermodynamics are applied in the context of subsystem design and atmospheric re-entry control and guidance (P1)
  • Understanding of different roles within an engineering team and the ability to exercise initiative and personal responsibility, which may be as a team member or leader (P11m)
  • A thorough understanding of current mission design, spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) practice and its limitations, and some appreciation of likely new developments (P9m)
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Ability to use fundamental knowledge to investigate new and emerging technologies (EA5m)
  • Ability to apply advanced problem-solving skills, technical knowledge and understanding, to establish rigorous and creative solutions that are fit for purpose for all aspects of the problem including production, operation, maintenance and disposal (D4)
  • Ability the use of technical literature and other information sources (P4m)
  • Apply your skills in problem solving, communication, working with others, information retrieval, and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)
  • Knowledge, understanding and skills to work with information that may be incomplete or uncertain, quantify the effect of solar radiation and temperature on the spacecraft subsystem design (power system / thermal control system) and, where appropriate, use theory or experimental research to mitigate deficiencies (D9m)
  • Awareness of relevant regulatory requirements governing spacecraft subsystem design activities in the context of standardisation (EL12m)
Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of spacecraft systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques on orbital mechanics and spacecraft subsystems (Power system/Thermal control system) (EA2)
  • Ability to apply quantitative and computational methods, using alternative approaches and understanding their limitations, in order to solve EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) problems and implement appropriate action (EA3m)
  • Advanced level knowledge and understanding of a wide range of spacecraft engineering and mission analysis (P12m)
Cognitive Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Ability to apply and integrate knowledge and understanding of other engineering disciplines to support study of orbital mechanics, spacecraft subsystem (Power system/Thermal control system) design and EDL (Entry, Descent and Landing) and the ability to evaluate them critically and to apply them effectively (SM3m)
  • Demonstrate wide knowledge and comprehensive understanding of spacecraft design processes and methodologies and the ability to apply and adapt them in unfamiliar situations (D7m)
  • Ability to apply engineering techniques taking account of a range of commercial and industrial constraints (P10m)
  • Knowledge and comprehensive understanding of spacecraft design processes and methodologies and the ability to apply and adapt them in unfamiliar situations (D10m)
  • Awareness that spacecraft design activities should promote sustainable space development and ability to apply quantitative techniques where appropriate (EL11m)

Syllabus

Keplerian Orbits: Spherical Trigonometry Two-Body Problem Elliptic, Parabolic & Hyperbolic Motion Orbit Representation: Coordinate Systems & Time Orbital Elements Time Dependence Power System (Design practice may include): Power system element and basic design principles Orbital Consideration Energy sources Energy storage devices Thermal Control System (Design practice may include): Fundamental of Thermal analysis Environmental heat inputs Thermal control hardware Thermal testing Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL): Fundamental of Atmospheric entry/re-entry method Deceleration of Spacecraft Atmospheric entry/re-entry issues Design and Testing methods of EDL: ground testing facilities and computational methods

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Learning activities include directed reading, problem solving, and computer lab sessions. Teaching methods include: Lectures, including slide and video presentations, and example classes An industrial visit (subject to availability) Learning activities include: Directed reading Individual work to understand and master the course content through problem sheets Computer programming of related problems Application of course content to astronautics-based Part 3 Individual Projects

TypeHours
Revision12
Preparation for scheduled sessions17
Lecture36
Follow-up work16
Wider reading or practice69
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

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

Assessment

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 80%
Quiz  (30 minutes) 4%
Quiz  (30 minutes) 4%
Quiz  (30 minutes) 4%
Quiz  (30 minutes) 4%
Quiz  (30 minutes) 4%

Repeat

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: SESA2024

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