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Spacecraft Environment Interaction


Credit Hours:


Learning Objective:

  1. acquiring basic knowledge of the effects on spacecraft of different aspects of space environment such as solar heating and low temperatures, vacuum conditions and chemical reactions with neutral species, atmospheric drag, plasma interactions and spacecraft charging, radiation degradation;
  2. developing capability to quantify the influence of the space environment on the spacecraft and its components;
  3. develop capability to perform conceptual spacecraft thermal analysis and design.


This senior undergraduate/graduate-level course introduces students to the space environment and its effects on space systems and methods to mitigate these effects.

Topics Covered:

  1. Introduction: Solar properties and Earth???s neutral atmosphere, magnetosphere and ionosphere. (2 weeks)
  2. Neutral Environment (2 weeks)
  3. Ionosphere and Plasma Environment (3 weeks)
  4. Radiation Environment (2 weeks)
  5. Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Environment (1 week)
  6. Spacecraft Thermal Design (3 weeks)
  7. Spacecraft Environment Interaction Case Studies and Project Reports (1 week)


Senior/graduate standing or permission of instructor.

Applied / Theory:

40 / 60


Approximately every other week.


Project proposals due the week after the October break; project presentations during the last week of classes. Teams of up to 3. Final project report due the week of finals.


One midterm exam. No final exam.


Computer Requirements:

ProEd Minimum Requirements:


Tuition & Fees: