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Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals


The space systems engineering sector employees space systems engineers who design, construct and test aircraft, spacecraft, missiles, satellites and equipment.

Space systems engineers are responsible for making sure that all of the subsystems in a spacecraft work together so that the spacecraft meets its objectives. Space systems engineers are part of the spacecraft program lifecycle from start to finish, including designing, building, testing, and, sometimes, deploying the spacecraft.

Space systems engineering is all about having a technical understanding of all of the subsystems involved in a spacecraft, including the structural and electrical systems, thermal control, power, and communication.

Most space systems engineers also typically have an area of special expertise, such as:

  • aerostructures
  • aerodynamics
  • guidance and control
  • propulsion
  • optical systems
  • thermal systems

Space systems engineering is an important field that often plays a crucial role in furthering space exploration through the design and construction of spacecraft.

However, not all space systems engineers work for NASA.

Space systems engineers work in a variety of businesses. These can be small, medium or large enterprises specializing in, or involved with, space systems and space technology.

Space system engineering is also used in large national or global aerospace companies and space agencies. It is also found in academic institutions. Institutions include universities, government-funded science and technology research and development laboratories.

The broad purpose of space systems engineers is to take a leading role in the design, manufacturing and testing of complex, high value space hardware and ground support equipment at component and sub-system level, using advanced integration skills.

Additionally, space systems engineers receive customer and mission requirements. They use engineering and scientific principles and knowledge of the space environment to identify solutions to requirements. They also assist in research and development, provide technical expertise, support, solutions and leadership.

In addition to having a rather broad palate of work responsibilities, space system engineers sometimes need to put in long hours in periods leading up to major project delivery milestones.

An important aspect of space systems engineering is the development of a concept of operations (ConOps). This is a description of how the systems will be operated during the mission phases in order to meet stakeholder expectations.

A space systems engineering ConOps serves several purposes, such as:

  • Provides an operational perspective
  • Stimulates requirements development related to the user
  • Reveals requirements and design functions as you consider different ways the systems might be used
  • Serves as a basis for key operations documents later

Information that is generally included in a concept of operations includes a description of the major mission phases. For example, for a NASA mission it will include things like contingency or emergency operations, signed state of return, and launch/orbit operations.

Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals Course By Tonex

Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals is a 2-day course introducing participants to the fundamental principles of systems engineering applied to development of space systems.

Participants learn about project and systems engineering management, concept definition, stakeholders management, developing ConOps, trade studies, requirements analysis and engineering, system architecture and interface definition, system synthesis, engineering design, integration, verification and validation, operations/sustainability and system retirement (DEMIL).

Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals

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