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)