Space Launch Vehicle Design and System Engineering

MECH&AE 810.110
Understand the “big picture” of space launch vehicle design by exploring the history of manned and unmanned launch vehicles, along with current designs and future concepts.
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What you can learn.

  • Learn missions, orbits, and energy requirements
  • Learn propulsion systems and space vehicle performance
  • Learn powered flight performance, trajectory analysis, orbital mechanics, vehicle structures, and sizing
  • Understand testing, failures, lessons learned, and cost estimation

About this course:

Understand the “big picture” of space launch vehicle design by exploring the history of manned and unmanned launch vehicles, along with current designs and future concepts. Learn all the design drivers such as required acceleration performance, trajectory and orbit/escape injections. Lectures present orbital mechanics in a manner that provides an easy understanding of underlying principles including launch vehicle performance requirements and launch windows. Instruction defines the systems engineering aspects of space launch vehicle design, including the integration of the payload and the various launch vehicle subsystems and components. Instruction details design considerations, such as launch optimization, structures and mechanisms, attitude control, thermal effects, propulsion systems, range safety, and operational aspects. Review practical aspects of launch vehicles, such as fabrication and testing, including several examples of, and the lessons learned from, launch vehicle failures. The course concludes with an overview of cost estimation for the development and operation of space launch vehicles.

The oral presentation is supplemented with the lecturer’s new Launch Vehicle Design textbook. Students receive a USB drive containing an extensive set of design data, videos illustrating different concepts that are shown in class, and a sample vehicle optimization input file.

This course benefits both engineers with a particular specialty or any specialist who needs to obtain a solid background of space launch vehicle design and how these vehicles must work together with spacecraft payloads. Managers who want to understand the many aspects of space launch vehicle design that affect their work, tasks, and scheduling also benefit from this course

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