The giant leaps we have made since the middle of the previous century are founded on the application of knowledge and the cooperation of experts from many different fields of expertise. Interested in space, have technical knowledge but lack an aerospace background?
This course provides you with an introduction to the key concepts, methods and systems which enable spaceflight. Leading questions will be:
- How do spacecraft make it into space?
- How do spacecraft travel through space?
- What are the systems comprising a spacecraft and which factors affect their design and operation?
On completion of this course, you will be able to:
- Understand, visualize and conduct basic analysis and calculations for the two-body problem. Topics include: Kepler orbits, ∆V budget, patched conics, orbit geometry, time and coordinate systems.
- Identify the most common classes of analytical and numerical methods and their use in spaceflight engineering.
- Understand and conduct basic calculations on launch vehicle performance and relate launch characteristics to space missions and systems. Topics include: the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, single and multi-stage performance, launch site location.
- Identify important characteristics of the space environment and understand the implications for spaceflight engineering and missions.
- Characterize different types of spacecraft and their related supporting systems (e.g. ground-based systems) and relate them to relevant mission types.
- Identify and describe spacecraft configurations and subsystems in the context of the space environment and particular mission types.
A written exam:
- counts for 100% of the grade
- closed book
- self-made formula sheet allowed (hand-written, A4-paper, both sides may be used)
Literature and Study Materials
Required textbook - Understanding Space: an introduction to astronautics, J.J. Sellers, McGraw-Hill, 3rd ed., ISBN: 978-0073-407-753 (Amazon.com $93.20) OR ISBN: 978-0077-230-302 (Amazon.com $148.50)
Reference book (optional but recommended) - Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD, J.R. Wertz, Microcosm Press (Space Technology Library), ISBN: 978-1881-883-159
If you want to work in the spaceflight sector and require technical insight, this course will orient you in the field and provide you with knowledge of key concepts, methods and systems. It will give you a platform from which to launch your collaboration on and deeper investigation of spaceflight topics.
If you successfully complete your online course you will be awarded with a TU Delft certificate.
This certificate will state that you were registered as a non-degree-seeking student at TU Delft and successfully completed the course.
If you decide that you would like to apply to the full Bachelor's program in Aerospace Engineering, you will need to go through the admission process as a regular BSc student. If you are admitted, you can then request an exemption for this course that you completed as a non-degree-seeking student. The Board of Examiners will evaluate your request and will decide whether or not you are exempted.
General admission to this course
Required prior knowledge
The first two years of a relevant BEng or BSc in engineering; students are expected to have mastered the fundamental concepts of a related engineering or science discipline. This includes satisfactory command of the fundamentals of calculus and physics needed at the BSc or BEng level.
Expected Level of English
English is the language of instruction for this online course. If your working language is not English or you have not participated in an educational program in English in the past, please ensure that your level of proficiency is sufficient to follow the course. TU Delft recommends an English level equivalent to one of the following certificates (given as an indication only; the actual certificates are not required for the admission process):
- TOEFL score 90+ (this is an internet-based test)
- IELTS (academic version) overall Band score of at least 6.5
- University of Cambridge: "Certificate of Proficiency in English" or "Certificate in Advanced English"
After enrolling you will receive a confirmation email. In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to email the following documents:
- a CV which describes your educational and professional background
- a copy of your passport or ID card (no driver's license)
- a copy of relevant transcripts and diplomas
If you have any questions about this course or the TU Delft online learning environment, please do not hesitate to contact us by sending an email.