2021 Space Systems Design Project

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Mechanical Engineering
Matunaga Saburo  Nakanishi Hiroki  Chujo Toshihiro 
Class Format
Lecture / Exercise /Experiment     
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Intensive ()  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

The aim of this course is for students to learn systems engineering and project management techniques for enduring severe restrictions and a harsh launching environment to certainly achieve a minimum success, through design and creation of artificial satellite models, and launching experiments. They will also set the ultimate goal to complete the mission at the international experiments on launching rockets which will be carried out in the US, after passing various required examinations including those set by external organizations. They will learn fundamental knowledge of satellite development as well as aim at improving teamwork skills such as leadership and followership through effectively working together and sharing tasks with their own group members. In addition, through coordination and negotiations with groups for launching a rocket and other participants, and on-site reporting sessions etc., they will develop their abilities to communicate their thoughts, understand others, and work together with others.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to
1) Gain basic/common knowledge of space engineering necessary for satellite development
2) Learn the basics of project management to understand and implement the process leading from project planning to achievement
3) Learn skills for teamwork, such as leadership and followership
4) Lead negotiations with others/other groups to improve their abilities to understand others and communicate their thoughts

Course taught by instructors with work experience

Applicable How instructors' work experience benefits the course
In this lecture, fundamental knowledge on space engineering is provided by professors who have experiences about research and development of space science satellites and deep space exploration spacecraft in JAXA.


Space Engineering, Satellite design and development, Project Management

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Students will design and develop a satellite model of beverage can size, called CANSAT, and perform a deployment test from a balloon. Furthermore, although it is out of the scope of the course, students may participate in the rocket launching event to be held in the US in September, if they wish to join and they pass external reviews. They will work on preparation so that they can pass required proving tests (deployment from a balloon) and examinations set by NPOs in Japan. In principle, the number of the participating students will be limited to around 10. In addition to regular lecture classes, progress reports, discussions, environmental tests, and review sessions will be held, students will participate in external reviews, joint balloon experiments, and the like.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Guidance Define policy of the project.
Class 2 Mission design 1 Conduct Mission design 1
Class 3 Mission design 2 Conduct Mission design 2
Class 4 Mission Definition Review (MDR) Conduct Mission Definition Review (MDR)
Class 5 Structure design and component tests 1 Conduct Structure design and component tests 1
Class 6 Structure design and component tests 2 Conduct Structure design and component tests 2
Class 7 Preliminary Design Review (PDR) Conduct Preliminary Design Review (PDR)
Class 8 Detailed structure design and component tests Conduct Detailed structure design and component tests
Class 9 Critical Design Review (CDR) Conduct Critical Design Review (CDR)
Class 10 Engineering Model development and functional and environment tests 1 Conduct Engineering Model development and functional and environment tests 1
Class 11 Engineering Model development and functional and environment tests 2 Conduct Engineering Model development and functional and environment tests 2
Class 12 Flight Model development and functional and environment tests Conduct Flight Model development and functional and environment tests
Class 13 Balloon flight test Conduct Balloon flight test
Class 14 Presentation Make a presentation



Reference books, course materials, etc.

Handouts and several texts introduced in the lecture

Assessment criteria and methods

Report about CanSat design, development, tests, process and so on, is evaluated.

Related courses

  • MEC.M231 : Introduction to Space Engineering
  • MEC.M331 : Space Systems Engineering
  • MEC.M333 : Advanced Space Engineering
  • MEC.I331 : Mechatronics (Mechanical Engineering)

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Students are required to have completed the Introduction to Space Engineering course or have equivalent knowledge.
The number of the students in this course will be limited in order to provide mainly practical training in class. About ten students will be selected in the beginning of the course based on interviews, reports, their previous grades etc.
Main working language is Japanese for feasible and efficient communications, but if necessary, English summary will be provided.

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