About this online course


The giant leaps we have made since the mid-twentieth century are founded on the knowledge and cooperation of experts with a wide range of backgrounds. Interested in space and have technical knowledge but lack an aerospace background?

Get a technical jump-start with this course: apply the key concepts and methods, and familiarize yourself with the systems which enable spaceflight.

Leading questions are:

  • How do spacecraft make it into space?
  • How do spacecraft travel through space?
  • Which factors affect spacecraft design and operation, and how do spacecraft systems contribute to mission success?

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.

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Conduct basic analysis and calculations, and visualize orbits, based on the two-body problem. Topics include: Kepler orbits, ∆V budget, patched conics, orbit geometry, time & coordinate systems;
  • Recognize the most common classes of analytical and numerical methods and classify their application to spaceflight engineering;
  • Conduct basic analysis and calculations on launch vehicle performance and relate launch and rocket 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 describe 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 select spacecraft configurations and subsystems in the context of the space environment and various mission types.

Watch sample video lectures



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 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"

Admission process

In order to complete your admission process you will be asked to upload the following documents:

  • a CV which describes your educational and professional background (in English)
  • 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 visit our Help & Support page.

Start Admission

  • Starts: Future dates to be announced
  • Fee: € 750
  • Length: 9 weeks
  • Effort: 8 - 10 hours per week

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