AstronauticsNow.com/aste520 ASTE520 Spacecraft Design
Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering (MS ASTE)
MS ASTE - Frequently asked questions
MS ASTE - schedule of courses Program history
USC Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering: Overview (53 min)
who should take course ASTE 520 Spacecraft Design
MS ASTE Program Update
Applying ASTE-520: Satllite Launch by North Korea in 2012
Advanced degrees in astronautical engineering for the space industry,
Acta Astronautica, 2014
ASTE 520 in Fall 2015 semester:
all course materials will be posted
on the class web site at DEN/GAPP in mid August.
One can get more information about the course
from a recent (Fall 2014) first (introductory) lecture :
ASTE 520 first lecture
20152016 academic year,
ASTE520 Spacecraft Design
is offered in the fall 2015 semester (Monday, 6:409:20 pm);
the course is not offered in the spring 2016 semester.
See astronautics course schedule
Class enrollement is unlimited.
shedules do change.
Always check the course schedule with ASTE Student Advisor .
Course webcasts. All lectures are available as webcasts through VSOE's Distance Education Network DEN to all (on-campus and remote) students enrolled in the course during the entire semester.
PC or Mac. DEN streams course videos using Microsoft Windows media encoders and servers. While streaming windows media files are supported by both the latest Mac and PC operating systems, using a Windows based system will usually provide a better experience. Additionally, DEN has recently added video download capabilities using Microsofts Digital Rights Management supporting Windows operating systems.
ASTE-520 is a popular graduate course.
About 1250 students took the course during the last 12 years from 2003-2014;
more than 1500 students took the course since 1996.
Mike Gruntman's web site on
Astronautics and Spacecraft Design
Recommended books (textbooks and monographs)
on Astronautics, Spacecraft Design, and Spacecraft Systems
For fun: Sputnik 1 Explorer 1 Vanguard 1
Special lecture (free download) 1 hr 10 min
The Road to Space. The First Thousand Years.
Fifty years ago in October of 1957, the first artificial satellite of the Earth was launched into space. The lecture focuses on the history of the events that led us to the space age.
Special lecture (webcast):
Space: From Firecrackers to Interstellar Flight
Part 1. The First Thousand Years (webcast 87 min); Part 2. Space in 21st Century (webcast 84 min)
Socks for the First Cosmonaut of Planet Earth
Video clips on satellite orbits and space
list of videos (pdf)
About Course ASTE 520
ASTE 520 Spacecraft Design is usually taken by astronautical engineering and other science (physics, astronomy, mathematics) and engineering (electrical, mechanical, aerospace, chemical, systems, computer, and other) graduate students and sometimes senior level undergraduate students.
This class is required for the degree Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering (code ASTE).
The course offers a broad introduction to fundamentals of space systems, main spacecraft subsystems, and their interactions.
This class is a must for science and engineering students, regardless of their major, considering careers in the space industry and government space research and development centers.
This is a very popular class, perhaps the largest graduate class on fundamentals of space systems in the United States. About 1250 graduate students took this class during the last 12 years from 2003-2014.
Instructor: Professor Mike Gruntman
Prior to 2008, the course was offered once a year. In academic years 20082013 the course was offered in both semesters, fall and spring. Beginning with 2013 academic year, I ofer the course - unlimited enrollment - only in the fall. Always check the class schedule with ASTE Student Advisor .
ASTE 520 is webcast and available through the USC Distance Education Network (DEN). DEN classes are taken by students pursuing graduate degrees (especially Master of Science) anywhere in the United States. Usually, students from 1014 States of the United States enrolled each year in ASTE 520.
Many our students work full time in major space companies and space government research and development centers (Aerospace Corporation, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Lockheed-Martin, Northrop-Grumman, Raytheon, Boeing, UT, Space and Missiles Systems Center, etc.), in small companies, or are on active duty in the armed forces. There is growing enrollment into the astronautical engineering program of students not affiliated with major companies (on an individual basis).
To get more information on ASTE520, other astronautics-related courses, USC graduate and undergraduate programs in Astronautical Engineering , and on DEN and contact information, please consult MS ASTE and Frequently asked questions
Organization of the class.
Course Outline (see also a recent first lecture of the course for details)
History of space exploration.
Univere. Galaxy. solar system. Coordinate systems.
Space environment. Hardness.
Space mission geometry; astrodynamics.
Orbit design. Basic orbits, perturbations, delta-V.
Spacecraft and mission design overview. Operations, launching facilities. Reliability.
Guidance, navigation and control; attitude determination; reaction control system. Global Positioning System.
Propulsion. Launch systems.
Introduction to communications; antennas, communication link;TT & C; data handling.
Electric power subsystem.
Structures and mechanisms.
Only for students enrolled in Mike's ASTE 520
REQUIRED CLASS NOTES
Class Notes (800+ pages) are essential and mandatory to the course.
The notes are available for download at DEN's web site of ASTE520 in the beginning of the semester.
Start with reading the "readme.pdf" file for instructions.
Usually, the full set of notes is ready before the first class meeting. The full set of homework assignments will also be available by that time, or at the latest by the end of the first month of the semester.
To access the class web site at DEN, all students enrolled in the class (including all on-campus students) must register with DEN.
Note that the notes are protected with a password that can be obtained only from the instructor (see Section 00, Part 2; no password protection).
Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD
eds. J. R. Wertz, D.F. Everett, and J.J. Puschell, Microcosm, 2011
Space Mission Analysis and Design , ed. W.J. Larson and J.R. Wertz,
Kluwer Academic Publishers and Microcosm, 3rd Edition, ISBN 9781881883104 .
Many other textbooks and monographs recommended by the instructor on
various aspects of astronautics and space technology are listed at
There are 3036 homework assignments. Late homework is graded with grades reduced by a 50% factor.
Grading policy for ASTE 520 (subject to change)