2023 Space Systems Engineering

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Mechanical Engineering
Chujo Toshihiro    Satou Yasutaka  Ozawa Satoru 
Class Format
Lecture    (Face-to-face)
Media-enhanced courses
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Course description and aims

The instructors will lecture on
1) attitude control of spacecraft
2) orbit control of spacecraft
3) structural dynamics of spacecraft and rockets.

Student learning outcomes

In this course, the basics of the following topics are lectured.
1) Attitude control of spacecraft: coordinate transformation, attitude representations, kinematics, dynamics, disturbance torque (gravity-gradient, solar radiation, electromagnetic and other torque), nutation of spin satellites, and various types of attitude control, such as control of gravity gradient stabilized satellites, stabilization control of spin satellites, control of three-axis stabilized satellites, attitude change control.
2) Orbit control of spacecraft: sphere of influence, patched conic method, interplanetary/cislunar orbits, three-body problems.
3) Structural dynamics of spacecraft and rockets: loads and dynamics for rocket and spacecraft structures and their design, design for mechanisms for spacecraft, basics of flexible deployable structure.

Course taught by instructors with work experience

Applicable How instructors' work experience benefits the course
This lecture provides fundamental knowledge on space engineering by professors and lecturers who have experience in the research and development of space science satellites and deep space exploration spacecraft in JAXA.


attitude representations, kinematics and dynamics, disturbance torque, nutation, gravity-gradient stabilization, three-axis stabilized satellite, attitude change control, sphere of influence, patched conic method, interplanetary/cislunar orbit, three-body problem, coordinate transformation, rocket structure and spacecraft structure, mechanism design for spacecraft, flexible deployable structure

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

Instructors will give lectures on attitude and orbit control and the structural dynamics of spacecraft using a blackboard, PowerPoint slides, and videos. Report assignments will be given as needed.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 introduction, coordinate transformation coordinate transformation
Class 2 attitude representations, kinematics attitude representations, kinematics
Class 3 attitude dynamics attitude dynamics
Class 4 disturbance torque and stability disturbance torque and stability
Class 5 various types of attitude control various types of attitude control
Class 6 stabilization control of spin satellites stabilization control of spin satellites
Class 7 spacecraft dynamics under solar pressure spacecraft dynamics under solar pressure
Class 8 sphere of influence, patched conic method sphere of influence, patched conic method
Class 9 interplanetary/cislunar orbit interplanetary/cislunar orbit
Class 10 three-body problem and Lagrange points three-body problem and Lagrange points
Class 11 rocket and spacecraft structures 1 rocket and spacecraft structures 1
Class 12 rocket and spacecraft structures 2 rocket and spacecraft structures 2
Class 13 mechanism design for spacecraft mechanism design for spacecraft
Class 14 deployable structures deployable structures

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterward (including assignments) for each class, referring to textbooks and other course material.


Ohkami, Tomita, Nakasuka and Matunaga, Introduction to Space Stations, Tokyo Univ Press, 2014

Reference books, course materials, etc.

B. Wie, Space Vehicle Dynamics and Control, American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics, 2008.
P.C. Hughes, Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics, John Wiley & Sons, 1986.

Assessment criteria and methods

Report (40%) and final exam (60%).

Related courses

  • MEC.M231 : Introduction to Space Engineering
  • MEC.A201 : Engineering Mechanics
  • MEC.B241 : Exercises in Engineering Mathematics
  • MEC.B242 : Exercises in Applied Mathematics
  • MEC.M333 : Advanced Space Engineering
  • MEC.M332 : Space Systems Design Project
  • MEC.M334 : Aeronautical and Aerospace Technology

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

Students are required to have a good knowledge of dynamics, vector calculus, and differentiation. It is desirable that students have completed the Introduction to Space Engineering course or have equivalent knowledge and basic knowledge of Control Theory or Theory of Vibration.

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