2021 Space Systems Initiative

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Mechanical Engineering
Matunaga Saburo  Nakagawa Toshihiko 
Class Format
Media-enhanced courses
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Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

Regarding a satellite system, lectures will be presented on “small satellite systems and mission idea” or “spacecraft dynamics and control”, based on students’ presentations, proposals, and discussion, with knowledge and reference materials provided as needed. One of the course goals is to participate in a satellite design or a spacecraft control contest to present pieces of work created by students.
Regarding a rocket system, design of a rocket, which symbolizes huge system design, an overview of the development and launching operation, engine combustion tests, and rocket launching procedures will be shown with video footage. Students will learn about the fundamentals and concepts of a series of rocket designing processes as for system designing method, basics for rocket sizing, guidance control/structure/electric power/propulsion or other systems.

Student learning outcomes

[Goals] By taking this course, students will understand space project planning, and basic processes for designing a rocket or satellite/spacecraft system or other fundamental concepts, and gain a practical experience.
[Topics] The aim of this course is for students to understand space system planning, selection of missions, discussion on feasibility, the basics of conceptual design such as definition of base specifications and carry them out for themselves. Two major domains: the satellite/spacecraft system and rocket system will be covered in this course. Students will be divided into teams to have discussion and make presentations to understand and learn the basic processes, handling with future space projects and small satellites/spacecraft as a specific topic for the satellite/spacecraft system, and Japan’s H-IIA Launch Vehicle etc. for the rocket system.

Course taught by instructors with work experience

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


small satellite/spacecraft systems, mission idea, rocket system design

Competencies that will be developed

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

Class flow

Two major domains: the satellite system and rocket system will be covered in this course. Students will be divided into teams to have discussion and make presentations on future space projects and small satellites as a specific topic for the satellite system, and Japan's and world's launch vehicles for the rocket system. Communication language of the lecture is Japanese.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 The outlines of this course will be explained. Satellite 1: Introduction to super-small satellites. Understand the purpose of the course
Class 2 Satellite 2: Introduction to contests, coming up with initial ideas, and the basics of satellite design Come up with ideas
Class 3 Satellite 3: Presentations on the ideas, classification of them, and grouping of the students Present the ideas
Class 4 Satellite 4: Presentations on detailed ideas, group discussion, presentations on the outcomes, and advanced design for satellites Discuss in groups
Class 5 Satellite 5: Selection of the theme of work, group discussion, presentations on the outcomes, and the basics of satellite control Discuss in groups and make presentations
Class 6 Satellite 6: Discussion on the feasibility of the themes, group discussion, presentations on the outcomes, the basics of satellite operations Discuss in groups and make presentations
Class 7 Satellite 7: Discussion about the work for a contest as a whole, and Presentation on each group's work and evaluation Holistically discuss and present the work
Class 8 Rocket 1: Historical revolutions and Fundamental theory of rocket The history of rocket development
Class 9 Rocket 2: System descriptions of rocket and their features The basics of rocket sizing
Class 10 Rocket 3: Subsystem design of rocket (propulsion/ engine etc.) Fluid dynamics/ thermal design etc.
Class 11 Rocket 4: Subsystem design of rocket (structure/ guidance control etc.) Strength/ light weight design etc.
Class 12 Rocket 5: Reliability and Production assurance of rocket Reliability/ Quality control etc.
Class 13 Rocket 6: Development, launching and operations of rocket Project planning/Future evolution
Class 14 Rocket 7: Report on the results (each of the groups) Report on the results

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 afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Materials are to be provided in class.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Materials are to be provided in class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be assessed on their presentations in class, and finalized work and reports. (Satellite: 50%, Rocket: 50%)

Related courses

  • MEC.M231 : Introduction to Space Engineering
  • MEC.M331 : Space Systems Engineering
  • MEC.M333 : Advanced Space Engineering
  • MEC.M334 : Aeronautical and Aerospace Technology
  • MEC.M332 : Space Systems Design Project

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

Students to enroll in this course should have a great interest in space systems. They are requested to have discussion and draw conclusions thinking flexibly. Note that this course does not merely consist of classroom lectures.
Japanese language skill is required for communication and discussion between students.

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