Postgraduate taught 

Aerospace Engineering & Management MSc

Spacecraft Systems 5 ENG5081

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Engineering
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course will investigate the design and sizing of major spacecraft subsystems and illustrate design choices and trades through a range of case studies.  In particular study of thermal, C&DH, AOCS, propulsion and structural subsystems will be investigated.


2 lectures per week

Excluded Courses





100% Written Exam.

Main Assessment In: April/May

Course Aims

The aim of this course is to introduce the main subsystems on spacecraft as well as the environmental and regulatory environments in which they work.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course students will be able to:

■ describe the main aspects of the space environment and their gross effects on the spacecraft and personnel which are exposed to them;

■ describe the key concepts of major spacecraft subsystems, using mathematics where appropriate, to explain and use fundamental design tools and relationships. These will include basic plasmadynamics, the rocket equation, direction cosine matrices and atmospheric entry calculations;

■ discuss legal issues such as certification and insurance with some confidence, with reference to UN treaties as well as EU and UK law.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must attend the degree examination and submit at least 75% by weight of the other components of the course's summative assessment.


Students should attend at least 75% of the timetabled classes of the course.


Note that these are minimum requirements: good students will achieve far higher participation/submission rates.  Any student who misses an assessment or a significant number of classes because of illness or other good cause should report this by completing a MyCampus absence report.