Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Spacecraft Systems Design

9-13 July 2018

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Course overview

This intensive 5 day course provides delegates with an introduction to the engineering aspects of satellite and mission design - with particular emphasis on the design of small low-cost satellites.

It will be assumed that delegates have a basic understanding of orbits and spacecraft dynamics.

The objectives

Through a series of intensive lectures and exercises, the course aims to give an introduction to the design and construction of spacecraft, showing how the mission, and the space environment itself constrain the engineering.

Delegates should leave the course with a knowledge of:

  • The Space Environment & its Effects;
  • Spacecraft Platform Systems & Design;
  • Satellite Manufacture & Testing
  • Applications of Small, Low-Cost Satellites
  • Space Mission Analysis & Design

By the end of the course, each delegate should have a good understanding of the way that satellites are designed and built. Because the course gives emphasis to the theoretical aspects of the subject, delegates will be able to apply their knowledge to a wide range of spacecraft design problems ranging from single payloads to whole spacecraft.

Course syllabus

Please note that the University of Surrey reserves the right to change this.

Introduction: Elements of a Space Mission: The mission, the spacecraft, trajectories and orbits, launch vehicles, mission operations systems, mission management and operations systems engineering.
Overview of Orbit and Constellation Design: The orbit design process. Earth coverage. Simple delta-V budgets. Selecting orbits and constellations. Common Examples.
Designing for Space (1);  Designing for Space (2) : The physical environment of space and spacecraft system design.  

Mechanical Design (1); Mechanical Design (2) : Frameworks and Structures, stress analysis, loads and stiffness, elastic instabilities, vibration, materials selection, structural analysis.
Thermal Design (1); Thermal Design (2) : Thermal sources and transport mechanisms in space, thermal balance, thermal  control elements, thermal design and implementation.

Mechanisms and Optics: (1)  Mechanisms and Optics (2)  kinematics, bearings and lubrication, motors and drives; mechanisms, wheels, materials. Optical mountings, alignment, and stray-light control. Simple optics, telescopes.
Sensors, Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems (1); Sensors, Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems (2) : Optical sensor technology; ADCS sensor technology; GNC systems.

Power Systems, EMC and Interfacing (1); Power Systems, EMC and Interfacing (2): Power generation, storage, regulation and monitoring. Harnesses and connectors, EMC, shielding and grounding, monitoring and protection
TT&C, RF Systems and On-Board Data Handling (1), TT&C, RF Systems and On-Board Data Handling (2): Tracking, telemetry, & command systems; RF link, data handling, OBCs.

Micro/Nano-Satellite Design Principles: Organisation, the KISS principle, capabilities, technology road-map
Space Mission Design Exercise (1,2,3).


Dr Craig Underwood, Deputy Director (Teaching) Surrey Space Centre, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK.

Recommended reading list

  • Maral & Bousquet 'Satellite Communications Systems' (3rd Ed), Wiley ISBN 0-471-97166-9 : 1998
  • Jerry Jon Sellers 'Understanding Space - An Introduction to Astronautics',  McGraw Hill ISBN 0-07-057027-2 : 1994
  • Fortesque & Stark (eds) 'Spacecraft Systems Engineering', John Wiley & Sons ISBN 0-471-93451-8 : 1992
  • W.J. Larson (eds) 'Space Mission Analysis & Design'(2nd Ed), Kluwer Academic Publishers ISBN 0-7923-19982

For a brochure please contact the CE office on -


Price per person, including lunch, refreshments and printed course notes:

  • £1850 - Standard rate
  • £1750 - Early bird rate for payment received by 9 June 2018

For IET Members (proof of membership needed)

  • £1850 - Standard rate
  • £1650 - Early bird rate for payment received by 9 June 2018

How to apply

To book, go to our online store. Please note that we do not charge VAT as we are an educational establishment. This makes the price of this course very competitive!

Proof of payment

Registrations must come with a valid purchase order, credit card payment or cheque.

Terms and conditions

  • Delegates can make a provisional registration for a course by telephone or email. However bookings are only acknowledged formally once payment has been received
  • In the event of cancellation and provided that written notice is received 10 working days prior to the event, a refund of 50% of the total fee will be made
  • If cancellation is made within 10 working days of the start of the course no refund can be made
  • If no notice of cancellation is received, no refund can be made
  • Substitutions, from the same company, may be made following consultation with the Continuing Education Manager
  • The University reserves the right to cancel any course on the grounds of insufficient numbers or for other reasons beyond our control. In this case the full fee will be refunded unless a mutually convenient transfer can be arranged
  • Registrations cannot be accepted without a valid Purchase order, credit card payment or cheque


Enquiries should be addressed to the CE Office, FEPS:

Tel: +44(0)1483 686040 or email