Systems Engineering and Spacecraft Systems

Module code: EG7412

Systems engineering is essentially a group of tools and techniques developed to make engineering products work as required, despite being composed of many interacting elements. Organisations such as the Royal Academy of Engineering and numerous engineering employers have identified that this group of skills are, and will increasingly become, critical to the success of all engineering endeavours. Knowledge of the principles of the discipline and how to apply some of the key techniques are an important professional asset for engineering and science graduates. Systems engineering as a discipline originally evolved to enable large aerospace projects, and so it is a natural fit to consider the key sub-systems of spacecraft in parallel with an understanding of the systems engineering fundamentals.

The principles of systems engineering can and should be applied to the development of any engineering system. The spacecraft systems part of the module is intended to give a solid grounding in the main design/operational challenges and solutions used in space vehicles. Such systems are technical achievements that have brought enormous economic and social benefits to mankind and have allowed us an insight into the most fundamental questions about our Universe.

This course provides an opportunity to study a module informed by the space projects currently being undertaken in the Space Research Centre.

The Systems Engineering part of the module will introduce the following topics: system lifecycle, requirements, trade-offs, types of modelling, mass and power budgetting, safety and reliability, quality and product assurance, cost, risk, human factors.

The Spacecraft Systems part of the module will introduce: orbits, propulsion, launch vehicles, space environment, data, telemetry and command, attitude & orbit control, power, spacecraft materials and structures, spacecraft thermal engineering and atmospheric (re-)entry.

Learning

  • 21 hours of lectures
  • 5 hours of seminars
  • 124 hours of guided independent study

Assessment

  • Exam, two hours (70%)
  • Coursework x 2 (15% + 15%)