Note: This unit version is currently under review and is subject to change!

AERO9760: Spacecraft and Satellite Design (2019 - Semester 1)

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Unit: AERO9760: Spacecraft and Satellite Design (6 CP)
Mode: Normal-Day
On Offer: Yes
Level: Postgraduate
Faculty/School: School of Aerospace, Mechanical & Mechatronic Engineering
Unit Coordinator/s: Dr Wu, Xiaofeng
Session options: Semester 1
Versions for this Unit:
Campus: Camperdown/Darlington
Pre-Requisites: None.
Prohibitions: AERO5760.
Brief Handbook Description: This course aims to introduce the students to the engineering aspects of spacecraft and mission design, covering the space environment and spacecraft sub-systems, including thermal control, power systems, attitude decision and control system, tracking, telemetry & telecommand, and on-board data handling.
Assumed Knowledge: None.
Lecturer/s: Dr Wu, Xiaofeng
Timetable: AERO9760 Timetable
Time Commitment:
# Activity Name Hours per Week Sessions per Week Weeks per Semester
1 Lecture 2.00 1 13
2 Project Work - in class 3.00 1 13
3 Independent Study 6.00
T&L Activities: Project Work - in class: A 3 hour practical is held each week. During the practicals the students will design the satellite mission and the satellite bus subsystems.

Independent Study: The average student is expected to spend at least 6 hours on this UoS per week, outside of the standard contact hours. Students have spent more time in the past focusing on their practical work in order to achieve high results. 

Learning outcomes are the key abilities and knowledge that will be assessed in this unit. They are listed according to the course goal supported by each. See Assessment Tab for details how each outcome is assessed.

Unassigned Outcomes
1. Space Mission Analysis & Design
2. System Engineering Aspects of Designing Spacecraft
3. Spacecraft Bus Subsystems & Design;
4. Applications of Small, Low-Cost Satellites
5. Space Environment & its Effects;
6. Ability to evaluate contribution to a project of both one-self and peers.
Assessment Methods:
# Name Group Weight Due Week Outcomes
1 Log Book No 30.00 Multiple Weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5,
2 Assignment Yes 60.00 Multiple Weeks 2, 3, 5,
3 Group Presentation Yes 10.00 Week 13 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
Assessment Description: Log Book: The log book is a recording mechanism that is of paramount importance to the engineer. It provides information about design process that the engineer went through and results in sufficient detail that another engineer can continue on with the work just by going through the log book:

The log book is the major form of assessment. You are required to keep a neat and thorough log book of your engineering design activities.

The log book will contribute 40% to your overall assessment.  

The log book will be assessed during the practicals. At the beginning of the practicals, the log book will be assessed for the preparation; At the end of the practicals, the log book will be assessed for the design process and results.

Assignment: There are 3 assignments. These assignments are group based assignment submissions. The focus of these assignments is to communicate your design philosophy as well as results.

1. Assignment 1 will focus on the use of Systems Engineering design with particular focus on the development of a “requirements analysis”. This assignment is worth 20% of your overall assessment.

2. Assignment 2 will focus on the spacecraft bus subsystems. This assignment is worth 20% of your overall assessment.

3. Assignment 3 will focus on the small satellite and its missions. This assignment is worth 20% of your overall assessment.  

Group presentation: One of the main objectives of this subject is to promote and develop team-working and communication skills within an engineering context. You will be asked to deliver a group presentation. This will be worth 10% of your overall assessment.
Grade Type Description
Standards Based Assessment Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining a final mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.
Policies & Procedures: See the policies page of the faculty website at for information regarding university policies and local provisions and procedures within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies.
Recommended Reference/s: Note: References are provided for guidance purposes only. Students are advised to consult these books in the university library. Purchase is not required.

Note that the "Weeks" referred to in this Schedule are those of the official university semester calendar

Week Description
Week 1 Introduction
Week 2 Systems Engineering
Week 3 Space Environment
Week 4 Single Event Effects and Mitigation
Week 5 On-board Data Handling & Computing
Week 6 Power
Week 7 Tracking, Telemetry and Command
Week 8 TTC & Communication
Week 9 Attitude Determination and Control System
Week 10 ADCS & Propulsion
Week 11 Thermal System
Week 12 Structures, Integration & Test
Week 13 Presentations
Assessment Due: Group Presentation

Course Relations

The following is a list of courses which have added this Unit to their structure.

Course Year(s) Offered
Master of Engineering 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Aerospace) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Aerospace) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Accelerated) (Mechanical) 2019, 2020
Master of Professional Engineering (Mechanical) 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020

Course Goals

This unit contributes to the achievement of the following course goals:

Attribute Practiced Assessed
(6) Communication and Inquiry/ Research (Level 3) No 0%
(7) Project and Team Skills (Level 3) No 0%
(8) Professional Effectiveness and Ethical Conduct (Level 2) No 0%
(5) Interdisciplinary, Inclusiveness, Influence (Level 4) No 0%
(4) Design (Level 4) No 0%
(2) Engineering/ IT Specialisation (Level 4) No 0%
(3) Problem Solving and Inventiveness (Level 4) No 0%
(1) Maths/ Science Methods and Tools (Level 4) No 0%

These goals are selected from Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 which defines overall goals for courses where this unit is primarily offered. See Engineering & IT Graduate Outcomes Table 2018 for details of the attributes and levels to be developed in the course as a whole. Percentage figures alongside each course goal provide a rough indication of their relative weighting in assessment for this unit. Note that not all goals are necessarily part of assessment. Some may be more about practice activity. See Learning outcomes for details of what is assessed in relation to each goal and Assessment for details of how the outcome is assessed. See Attributes for details of practice provided for each goal.