The “Handling data and programs. Specification and design” lectures relate to system engineering. More precisely, these lectures show to the attendees that data and programs, representing both static and behavioural system descriptions can be captured through data models, at different abstraction levels and for different engineering domain (structure, computing, propulsion, etc.). Moreover, it shows that a single and unified modelling language can handle such descriptions, reducing heterogeneity.
After these lectures, using the introduced modelling language, the attendee becomes capable to describe any system (either from a static or behavioural point of view), at different abstract levels, and in different engineering domains. By abstraction level, we mean levels where different concepts are captured into the designed models. Obviously, the definition of such models may follow a development model (e.g. V model) to organise these models.
Finally, my feeling is that one of the most interesting part of these lectures is the teamwork, related to the space domain with relevant case studies, collectively performed by the attendees and the lecturer at the end of the course. This activity leads to interesting discussions and exchanges between the whole promotion and the lecturer.
Prof. Yamine Ait Ameur Full Professor at INPT Toulouse (France)
Conceptual Design of Space Systems asks the students to set their own agenda, asking what their vision is for a new space system. To stimulate creative thinking we look at a variety of space missions and applications and the trends in space systems design from the moon as earth’s first satellite, through contemporary space innovations including the Space Station and microspace.
The class becomes a design workshop as the students divide into several groups, each with its particular vision expressed first as a Mission Statement and then as a conceptual design. The design workshop alternates with lectures presenting actual space system and their subsystem designs (communications, navigation and control, deployables, thermal / mechanical etc.) as well as the engineering of reliability, program management including cost estimation and control, and entrepreneurial space, all with the goal of stimulating the most appropriate and creative design solutions, where design encompasses all elements of the realization of the mission including political, financial, environmental and other “externalities” in addition to the usual technical considerations, to each of the missions.
This element of the course concludes with presentations of mission design and cost / performance / feasibility, by all of the students in each of the design groups. Usually the group work project which is the subject of the Thesis is selected interactively by the faculty and students from these candidate missions.
The course continues throughout the remainder of the Masters program with regular meetings with students as they develop the detailed design elements of the Thesis.
Professor Rick Fleeter
Adjunct Associate Professor of Engineering, Brown University (Providence-Stati Uniti)
From the other side of the desk.
Teaching is, or should be, always a two-sided experience. As a teacher, my main goalshave been to help students expanding their technical background, to give them the tools to tackle and solve new problems in a rational approach, and to stimulate creative thinking. This is, obviously, what students are expecting from their professors. But, undeniably, I owe my students something equally important: the motivation and the enthusiasm to move forward and improve.
For a professor, teachingat the Master in Satellites and Orbiting Platforms is howeversomething special and different from lecturing at university courses.Most of this uniqueness is due to the students.They come mostly from the different fields of engineering, (aerospace, electronics, telecommunications, mechanical, and certainly the list is incomplete). In addition, we always had a small but very active group of physicists, and hope to host in the future also students with a background in other scientific disciplines. I cannot forget the extraordinary contribution from the officers of the Italian Air Force and Navy, always very keen to participate in the activities of the course with their own, peculiar, expertise. (With one of them I have still pending plans to resume rock climbing, after many years of inactivity!)This cultural variety is a most important resource, enrichingthe experience of the group and boosting teamwork.
One of the most rewarding experiences from my participation in space projects is the opportunity to work with and learn from scientists and engineers with very different background. Space is inherently “multicultural” and, to a certain extent, eclectic. On a smaller scale, the Master course encompasses the breadth of expertise required byindustries, agencies and research institutes involved in space exploration and utilization.The teamwork activities, rightly at the core of the course, saw the productive interaction and integration of students with complementary technical background. A couple of years ago I throw in a challenging idea for a teamwork project: the design of a mission to Saturn’s moon Titan, ending up in the delivery of a probe into one of the moon’s hydrocarbon seas for a week-long float. The same project was being developed at the same time by a team of US scientists and engineers for a NASA mission, but nothing was known about the technical solutions adopted by those professionals, as the work was carried out in competition with other teams proposing different missions. The students bravely embarked in this challenging project, combiningtechnical knowledge and enthusiasm in equal doses. The results were incredibly interesting, to the point that their work deserved to be presented at the Italian Space Agency, where it gained unanimous appreciation. At the time of this writing, there is an open call for an ESA science mission. Well, if I had the power to regroup the team, I would be tempted to beef up a bit their work and, with their help, upgrade it into a real proposal for a mission to a Titan sea!
Associate Professor at La Sapienza (Rome, Italy)
The students in the Satellite course in 2014 were well versed in the background of human space exploration - from the beginning to the present. They absorbed the technical and economic materials with enthusiasm and asked questions which showed an understanding of the challenges we face in further exploration of the solar system.
Laurence Retman Young
Full Professor at MIT
The Master Course in Space Systems and Services offered by the University of Rome “La Sapienza” is a unique course of its kind in Italy. This course fills a gap in the Italian education system where little opportunities are available for students willing to learn about space systems engineering as an academic discipline and professional practice. The course gives students a holistic vision of satellite systems and the space industry which is unprecedented in the Italian education system, and it provides students opportunities to get in touch with professionals and lecturers coming from first-class institutions worldwide. I had the pleasure to teach a short course in Space Systems Architecture in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the Master course, and in both cases I found brilliant, inquisitive students, very eager to learn and to make a quality step in their careers. An opportunity for a research collaboration also arouse from one of these visits. The Master Course in Space Systems could serve as an effective role model for the Italian education system to create similar full degrees at graduate and undergraduate levels in Aeronautics and Space Systems Engineering, which to my knowledge are lacking at the moment. I strongly recommend this course to anyone interested in pursuing a professional career in the space industry as a systems engineer, and to domain-savvy engineers looking to gain a broader view of the industry besides their specific application domain.
Assistant Professor Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology
I have been following and supporting the Master course of Prof. Gaudenzi for many years, actually from its beginnings. My opinion could therefore be considered polarized and partisan. But rather than an opinion, I will let the facts to speak up by themselves: wherever I go, in Europe and now even in USA and Russia, I find former alumni of the Master well positioned both in industries or in academic institutions. Here at ESTEC, where I presently work, there is a long standing tradition, mainly in Cost Modeling, of former students joining the Agency as "stagiere" and then being hired as Staff Members or moving to industry as well recognized (and paid) experts. Since "the tree is known by its fruit"...