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Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals

The job of a space systems engineer is not all that dissimilar from what a general systems engineer does — looks across multiple disciplines (computers & software, electronics, power, thermal, structural) to be able to design systems that perform the intended function reliably, for a reasonable cost.

Engineering is engineering, right answers are right answers, but in space systems, the environment (vacuum, temperature extremes, radiation, launch vibration, acceleration, hypersonic ascent and entry) generates a lot of constraints that make the engineering solutions appear unusual compared to most other industries.

For example, space systems engineers argue over fractions of a watt or a few degrees of temperature or a few grams of mass, because power and cooling and launch payload are precious resources.

Also, the rules for space systems are somewhat unusual because the environment is unusual, compared to most other engineering jobs.

For the space systems engineer, there are unique challenges working with expensive, exotic materials where a gram here or a few degrees of temperature variance matter significantly against the backdrop of space.

Space is, in fact, the ultimate harsh environment. Things shake around a lot on launch and face extreme temperatures once they get in orbit. Of course, these things happen other places too, such as in the automotive industry, but in space a few things change.

For example, a terrestrial systems engineer working on a big server rack that uses a lot of power could easily get a very big fan to blow the heat away. But in space, it’s not so easy. Because space is a vacuum, the space systems engineer needs to find other ways to dissipate heat, such as through conduction or radiation.

There are also other phenomena a space engineer deals with such as bit flipping, believe caused by a cosmic ray striking computer memory at just the right time and flipping a bit, turning a 0 into a 1 or vice versa. Things can get into a state that regular systems engineer couldn’t think possible.

Considering that satellites are up in space for 10 to 20 years, they understandably get hit by a lot during that time.

A career in space systems engineering can be challenging but seldom boring. That’s because space engineers are often doing things for the very first time, like landing on a comet or laying the foundations for manned voyages to Mars.

The space system engineer is the force behind space systems.

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 will 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).

For more information, questions, comments, contact us.


Space Systems Engineering Fundamentals

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