An Introduction to Astronautics and Space Systems Engineering

This exciting, fast-paced two-day course delivers the “big picture” of space missions from cradle to grave. Understanding Space is the ideal course for technical or non-technical professionals new to the space industry or who need a refresher on the fundamentals.

Learning Outcomes

  • Gain Core Space Knowledge
    • Define and describe important astronautics terms and concepts
  • Comprehend space mission Capabilities, Trade-offs and Limitations
    • Explain how and why space is used to provide capabilities on Earth
  • Apply Space Concepts to real-world problems
    • Calculate basic orbit and system parameters that drive mission scope and cost
  • Analyze Typical Space Problems
    • Compare and contrast different technical approaches for space missions
  • Synthesize concepts to Design a Space Mission
    • Design a space mission given some basic goals and objectives and develop a top-level project plan for it
  • Evaluate basic technical and programmatic space issues
    • Assess the technical merits of various space mission architectures

Who Should Attend

Engineers, scientists, or managers either new to the space field or who want to broaden their understanding of the big picture of space systems and operations.

Course Materials 

Each participant will receive:

  • A copy of the course text Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics
  • A complete set of course notes with copies of all slides used in the presentations
  • TSTI Alumni status allowing on-line access to course materials, including tools and videos through the Alumni Lounge
  • A demo copy of Systems Tool Kit software by AGI


“Best course I’ve ever taken!” -Boeing Engineer
“I finally understand the big picture of what we do.” -NASA Scientist
“Everyone in the space business should take this course.” -Lockheed Martin Engineer

Course Topics

Space in Our Lives
• Space in Our Lives
• Elements of a Space Mission
• A Brief History of Space
• The Space Enterprise
• Space Systems Engineering
• Mission Management, Space Operations
• Down to Earth Issues Exploring Space
• History of early explorers and the coming of the space age

Orbits & Trajectories
• The Space Environment
• Understanding Orbits
• 2-body Problem and Constants of Motion
• COEs, Ground Tracks and Basic Orbits
• Perturbations and Special Orbits
• Maneuvers, Rendezvous
• Launch & Reentry

Space Systems
• Observation Payloads
• Electrical Power
• Attitude and Orbit Control
• Communication, Data Handling
• Structures and Thermal
• Rockets, Launch Vehicles

Interested in this course?