10 Credits AUTUMN

Aims/Description: The module aims to introduce different mission types including communications, earth observation, weather, navigation, astronomy, scientific, interplanetary missions and space stations. Concepts of orbital motion such as Kepler Laws, Elliptic, Parabolic and Hyperbolic orbits are introduced. Atmospheric drag, luni-solar perturbations are explained. Hohmann orbit transfer, ground station visibility, launch windows are explained. The module provides an understanding of spacecraft sub-systems and control including attitude control and thermal control, as well as providing knowledge of propulsion systems for example chemical rockets, electric propulsion, nuclear rockets, and solar sails. Various concepts related to space environment are explored including, sun, solar wind, solar cycles, heliosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere, magnetic storms, substorms and geomagnetic indices. The module explains space weather phenomena and concepts including the effects of ionising radiation, cosmic rays, and solar energetic particle events on spacecraft systems and astronauts. Geomagnetic storms and sub-storms are also discussed. The module considers ground induced current and its effect on the pipelines, power grid and transformers. The effects of space weather on communications and forecasting of space weather are discussed.

Teaching Methods: Lectures, Tutorials, Independent Study
Assessment: Formal Exam, Classroom testing

Information on the department responsible for this unit (Automatic Control and Systems Engineering):

Departmental Home Page
Teaching timetable


The content of our courses is reviewed annually to make sure it's up-to-date and relevant. Individual modules are occasionally updated or withdrawn. This is in response to discoveries through our world-leading research; funding changes; professional accreditation requirements; student or employer feedback; outcomes of reviews; and variations in staff or student numbers. In the event of any change we'll consult and inform students in good time and take reasonable steps to minimise disruption.

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Teaching methods and assessment displayed on this page are indicative for 2021-22. Students will be informed by the academic department of any changes made necessary by the ongoing pandemic.

Western Bank, Sheffield, S10 2TN, UK