6–10 January 2020
Hyatt Regency Orlando,
Orlando, Florida

Fundamentals of Space Systems

5-6 January 2019
0800-1700 hrs
Manchester Grand Hyatt San Diego

Member - Early (until 17 December)  $500
Member - Standard  $600
Conference Rate $700

Register Here


This 2-day course “Fundamentals of Space Systems” provides an introduction to the concepts and technologies of modern space systems. Space systems combine engineering, science, and external phenomena. We concentrate on scientific and engineering foundations of spacecraft systems and interactions among various subsystems. The fundamentals of subsystem technologies provide an indispensable basis for system engineering. The basic nomenclature, vocabulary, and concepts will make it possible to converse with understanding with subsystem specialists. This introductory course is designed for engineers and managers – of diverse background and varying levels of experience – who are involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space systems and spacecraft subsystems and components. The course will facilitate integration of engineers and managers new to the space field into space-related projects.

Key Topics

  • Space environment and interactions
  • Orbital mechanics and space mission geometry
  • Overview of space mission design and applications
  • Space propulsion and launch systems
  • Attitude determination and control
  • Communications, power, and thermal control subsystems

    Who Should Attend

    The course is for engineers, scientists, and managers of diverse background and varying levels of experience, including those new to space programs, who are involved in planning, designing, building, launching, and operating space systems and spacecraft subsystems and components. 


    Dr. Mike Gruntman is Professor of Astronautics at the University of Southern California. He is a specialist in astronautics, spacecraft and rocket technologies, space sensors, and space physics. Gruntman involved in various R&D programs and authored and co-authored 300 scholarly publications, including four books. 

    Course Outline

    12 one-hour segments (6 segments per day):

    1. Organization and scope of the course. Space enterprise.Government and commercial space. Space expenditures. Main U.S. participants in space enterprise.
    2. Solar System. Coordinate systems. Solar system. Planets. Coordinate systems. Time. Sun. Solar cycle. Plasma. Sun’s electromagnetic radiation. Solar wind.
    3. Space environment and spacecraft interaction. Atmosphere, ionosphere, magnetosphere. Geomagnetic field. Drag. Atomic oxygen. Radiation belts and shielding. Geomagnetic storms and space weather. Space debris.
    4. Basics of orbital mechanics. Motion in gravitational field. Classical orbit elements. Two-line element format. Orbital maneuvers. Hohmann transfer. Orbit plane change.
    5. Common orbits and space mission geometry. Launch sites. Launch to GEO. Forces acting on satellites. Sun-synchronous, Molniya, geostationary orbits. Eclipses. Satellite ground track and swath. Constellations.
    6. Mission support systems. Space mission overview. Ground stations. DSN, AFSCN, TDRSS, GPS.  Space Laser Ranging (SLR). Mission design basics. Life cycle. Reviews. Flowdown of requirements. Technology readiness levels. Systems engineering.
    7. Spacecraft propulsion. Propulsion requirements. Thrust, specific impulse. Rocket equation. Cooling methods. Liquid and solid propulsion systems. Electric propulsion.
    8. Launch systems. Space launchers. Launch environment. Fairing.  Atlas and Delta launch families. Launch integration and planning.
    9. Attitude determination and control. Spacecraft attitude. Angular momentum. Environmental disturbance torques. Attitude sensors. Attitude control techniques (configurations). Stability of spinners. Momentum and reaction wheels.
    10. Space communications. Communications basics. Decibel language. Antennas. Antenna gain. TWTA and SSA. Noise. Bit rate. Communication link. Effects of atmosphere, rain. Bit error rate. Error correction. Convolution code.
    11. Spacecraft power systems and thermal control. Spacecraft power system elements. Orbital effects. Photovoltaic systems (cells and arrays). RTG. Batteries. Environmental thermal loads. Blackbody concept. Passive thermal control. Coatings. Multilayer insulation (MLI). Active thermal control. Testing.
    12. Space missions and applications. Science, exploration, commercial, national security.

    Course Materials

    Course notes will be made available about one week prior to the course event. You will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to access your course notes. Since these notes will not be distributed on site, AIAA and your course instructor highly recommend that you bring your computer with the course notes already downloaded. 

    Course Registration


    Please contact Jason Cole if you have any questions about courses and workshops at AIAA forums.

    Dates to Remember

    • Open for Abstract: 27 Mar 2019
    • Abstract Deadline: 11 Jun 2019
    • Manuscript Deadline: 02 Dec 2019
    • Early Mem Reg Deadline: 16 Dec 2019
    • Cancellation Deadline: 16 Dec 2019

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