Space Flight Operations


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

The Space Flight Operations course is designed so that students will achieve the following learning outcomes: Understanding of the terminology associated with space flight operations; Ability to assess and design mission concept of operations, and understand the implications of the mission architecture to operability; Development of technical resource budgets, spanning mass, power, thermal, telecommunications, data volume; Understanding of the roles and responsibilities of a flight team; Understanding of the processes involved in operating a mission; Ability to identify and mitigate mission risks


Space Flight Operations will provide students with a technical foundation for the operation of Earth orbiting and planetary missions. The course is structured to align with the flight project lifecycle, providing students with the necessary information to design for operability during each phase of project development.
Spring 2019 Syllabus

Topics Covered:

The first segment of the course covers mission architecture, including mission concept studies, cost-risk-performance trades, and the use of automation versus human-in-the-loop systems. The second segment introduces mission operations fundamentals, including flight team organization, uplink and downlink processes, risk management, contingency planning, and verification and validation. In the third segment, technical resource budgets will be discussed, including telecommunications link budget, power budget, thermal energy balance, and attitude control system sizing. The fourth segment covers launch operations, flight project practices, and cost estimation. In the final segment, the class will review and discuss failure investigation reports for high-profile mission failures spanning human and robotic missions.


This course is open to seniors and graduate students. There are no fixed prerequisites within the AAE curriculum, and the course may be of interest to non-AAE majors.

Applied / Theory:

70 / 30

Web Address:

Web Content:


Homework assignments (30%); Term paper (10%)


2 Midterm Exams (60%) No final exam.


Official textbook information is now listed in the Schedule of Classes. NOTE: Textbook information is subject to be changed at any time at the discretion of the faculty member. If you have questions or concerns please contact the academic department.

Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Requirements. Homework will require computing in Excel and MATLAB.

ProEd Minimum Requirements:


Tuition & Fees: