ASTE 331a Fall 2019:
Spacecraft Systems Engineering
3 units
Lecture Tuesdays and Thursdays 9:3010:50 AM, KAP 147
Instructor:
Dan Erwin, RRB 222, (213) 7405358,
erwin@usc.edu.
Office Hours: Tuesdays 14 PM, Wednesdays 1012 AM.
NOTE:
ASTE 331a is the first semester of a twosemester course.
The second semester will be about space systems engineering and about
the design process; there will be a spacecraft design project done in teams.
Learning Objectives:
After completing this twosemester course, a student will be able to:
 Understand the fundamental physics of spacecraft systems
 Understand the relationship between mission requirements and system performance requirements
 Design subsystems to meet performance requirements
 Make design choices taking system tradeoffs into account
 Understand the steps in performing a complete spacecraft system design
Text:
There are two required textbooks:

Vincent L. Pisacane, Fundamentals of Space Systems, 2nd ed.
Oxford, 2005. ISBN 9780195162059.

Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD, James R. Wertz, David F. Everett and Jeffery J. Puschell, eds.
Microcosm, 2011. ISBN 9781881883159.
Pisacane is a true textbook and explains things starting from first principles.
SMAD is more of a reference; its explanations are quite terse, but it is more
up to date and has more information on actual missions.
Midterm Exam: Tuesday, October 29, in class.
Final Exam: Thursday, December 12, 11:00 AM1:00 PM in the regular classroom.
Homework: Assigned weekly. Due on Thursdays in class.
Grading: Homework, 25%; midterm exam, 30%; final exam, 45%.
Software used:
Matlab:
A generalpurpose numeric computation environment, with some
symbolic capability. An interpreted Clike language, extended with
vector and matrix syntax, is coupled with mathematics and graphics
libraries. The student who is comfortable with Matlab will be able to
do numeric solution of any problem he or she is faced with, as well as
provide graphical representation of the solutions.
NX (Siemens):
A package for computeraided design (CAD) and analysis. Used in AME
coursework, so if you do not already have it installed, you will soon
need to in any case. In this class, NX is used for structural
analysis, particularly analysis of resonant vibration frequencies.
ANSYS Structures:
A package for computeraided mechanical and thermal analysis
of structures. In this class, Ansys is used for thermal
analysis of spacecraft.
STK (Systems Toolkit):
A package for setting up, simulating, and
visualizing the operation of space missions. Launch, orbits and
stationkeeping, attitude dynamics and control, communications, and
ground station operations can all be simulated. ASTE has a site
license for STK through a donation from the company, Analytical Graphics Inc. (AGI).
For installation and licensing of STK, see http://asteclasses.usc.edu/stk
Course Material:
The times and topics given below are approximate, and the list may change
as the semester progresses.
We will see how things go and take more or less time on each topic as seems appropriate.



Reading 
Week 
Date 
Topics

Pisacane 
SMAD 
1

08/27 & 08/29

Intro to spacecraft systems and the notion of tradeoffs.
Intro to space environment: Solar cycle, atmospheric composition.
Numerical solution of systems of ordinary differential equations.
Orbit decay.
Collisional mean free path. Continuum vs. freemolecular flow.
Ionosphere and plasma frequency.
Geomagnetic field. Van Allen belts. South Atlantic anomaly.
 Ch. 2, secs. 1, 3, 4  Ch. 7, sec. 1 
2

09/03 & 09/05

Magnetosphere.
Motion of charged particles in magnetic field.
Spacecraft charging in LEO and GEO.
Microgravity, gravity gradients, tidal forces.
 Ch. 2, secs. 2, 57  Ch. 7, sec. 25 
3

09/10 & 09/12

Start on attitude and orbital control system (AOCS).
Quaternions. Converting between attitude representations:
Euler, RPY, transformation matrix, quaternion.
Moment of inertia tensor and principal coordinates.
Parallel axis theorem. Similarity transform.
Transformation of time derivatives between inertial and rotating frames.
Euler's equations for rigid body rotation.
Stability of spin about principal axis.
 Ch. 5  Ch. 19, sec. 1 
4

09/17 & 09/19

Kinematic equation for quaternion.
Full equations of rigid body rotation.
Spacecraft attitude measurement.
Gyroscopes.
Triad method for determining attitude from axis measurements.
External torques on spacecraft.
 Ch. 5  Ch. 19, sec. 1 
5

09/24 & 09/26

Moment of inertia of assembly of components.
Gravity gradient torque.
Intro to reaction wheels/momentum wheels.
Attitude accuracy and jitter.
Precession of spinning spacecraft.
Attitude control using thrusters, reaction wheels,
controlmoment gyros, magnetic torque rods.
Angular momentum dumping.
 Ch. 6  Ch. 21, sec. 2 
6

10/01 & 10/03

Start spacecraft power systems.
Eclipse in LEO.
Electric circuits: voltage, current, power, resistors, diodes, MOSFETs.
Shunts.
Photovoltaics: Basic performance, IV characteristics,
temperature variation, radiation degradation.
Coverglass properties.
Thermal cycling.
 Ch. 6  Ch. 21, sec. 2 
7

10/08 & 10/10

Solar array topology to mitigate shading and hot spots.
Batteries.
Power system sizing and design.
Spacecraft thermal subsystem. Thermal sources.
 Ch. 7  Ch. 22, sec. 2 
8

10/15 & 10/17

Blackbody radiation.
Absorptance and emittance of surfaces and coatings.
Heat exchange mechanisms.
Thermal control techniques: Heat pipes, MLI, heaters, louvers.
Equilibrium temperature of simple object.
 Ch. 7  Ch. 22, sec. 2 
9

10/22 & 10/24

Radiative heat transfer.
Lumped approximation for timedependent heat transfer equations.
Analysis of thermal performance.
Start on spacecraft structures.
Intro to structural analysis using NX.
Review using last year's exams.
 Ch. 8  Ch. 22, sec. 1 
10

10/29 & 10/31

MIDTERM EXAM.
Role and requirements of structure.
Interface with launch vehicle.
Launch loads.
Stress analysis of common shapes.
Thermal stresses.
 Ch. 8  Ch. 22, sec. 1 
11

11/05 & 11/07

Materials: Metals, composites, sandwich structures.
Structural dynamics. Resonant frequencies.
Lumpedmass approximation.
Truss analysis.
 Ch. 8  Ch. 22, sec. 1 
12

11/12 & 11/14

Intro to S/C communications.
Gain, loss in decibels.
Electromagnetic propagation: Latency, polarization, refraction.
Atmospheric refractive dip. Transmission of atmosphere. Rain attenuation.
Diffraction. Reflective focusing of radiation. Sampling and Nyquist limit.
Digitization of analog signals. Communications architectures.
Communication link design. Noise temperature. Shannon channel capacity.
Antenna gain.
 Ch. 9  Ch. 16 
13

11/19 & 11/21

Tradeoff: Antenna gain vs. power. Noise sources. Bit error probability.
Modulation and coding. Types of antennas. Transmitter and antenna mass.
Multiplexing.
Optics and remote sensing. Optical systems. Diffraction and shot noise limits.
Imaging of Earth from space.
 Ch. 9  Ch. 16; Ch. 17, sec. 1 
14

11/26 & 11/28

Intro to S/C command and telemetry.
 Ch. 10  Ch. 21, sec. 1 
15

12/03 & 12/05

Review.
  
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