Human Spaceflight and Nuclear Systems

Module code: PA7051

This module provides a detailed overview of the specific requirements introduced by human spaceflight. You will have the chance to demonstrate your knowledge of the fundamental physical and engineering principles appropriate to astronautics and objectives of space exploration and gain an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities that human spaceflight presents. This module will also give a broad overview of the European space industry and focus on the main large aerospace companies, policies and priorities of major contributors to ESA, and discuss the wider implications of space exploration and exploitation for society.

In this module you will be exposed to the different type’s of nuclear power and propulsion technologies that can be used in space, and you will have the opportunity to apply a working knowledge of thermal engineering, mechanical engineering to critically analyse the advantages, disadvantages and challenges associated with space nuclear power systems in the context of space exploration missions. The module will be taught in part by two visiting honorary academic staff members from the US to cover the human spaceflight and space nuclear power systems. Additional experts external to the University of Leicester will be contributing seminar series.


  • 18 hours of lectures
  • 6 hours of seminars
  • 126 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (Human Space Flight) (50%)
  • Coursework (Nuclear Power Systems) (50%)