date_range Starts on March 13, 2019
event_note End date May 19, 2019
list 8 sequences
assignment Level : Intermediate
chat_bubble_outline Language : English
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Key information

credit_card Free access
verified_user Fee-based Certificate
timer 16 hours in total

About the content

Space exploration is a very exciting subject. Consider the achievements of Sputnik 1, Yuri Gagarin’s first flight in space, the Apollo missions to the Moon, followed by the Shuttle program, the Hubble Space Telescope launch and maintenance on orbit, and finally the assembly and exploitation of the International Space Station. These were challenging undertakings involving space agencies and industrial teams of several nations, and private companies as well. Space telescopes are in service, and several components of the solar system have been and are still actively visited by a number of unmanned probes and robots providing us with precious knowledge about our space environment as well as the far away Universe.

This course builds on university level physics and mechanics to introduce and illustrate orbital dynamics as is applied in the design of space missions. Simple tools will be provided to allow planning of missions on orbit around Earth or in the Solar System. You will learn from the experience of Claude Nicollier, one of the first ESA astronauts, specifically through his involvement in the Shuttle project and his role in the maintenance of the Hubble Space Telescope on two occasions.

The course focuses on conceptual understanding of space mechanics, maneuvers, propulsion and control systems used in all spacecraft. You will gain knowledge of the challenges related to the use of the space environment as a platform for scientific and utilitarian purposes.

  • Fundamental laws of mechanics and orbital mechanics
  • Orbital maneuvers
  • Types of space missions and their objectives
  • Space environment
  • General concepts of space vehicle architecture
  • Propulsion
  • Attitude determination and control
  • Onboard systems
  • Risk management and reliability
  • Key design elements for successful missions, in particular related to human spaceflight

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Prerequisite

Bachelor level courses in physics, vector analysis, and calculus.

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Syllabus

Unit 0 - Introduction to the Course

• Course objectives
• Motivation behind space exploration and utilization
• The space pioneers, and brief history of human space exploration
• The main space agencies in the world
• Space utilization and exploration

Unit 1 - Introduction to Space Environment

• Review of laws of mechanics
• Introduction to the space environment including the transition from the atmosphere to space, microgravity, the electrical and thermal environments, orbital lifetime, space debris and asteroids/comets collision threats

Unit 2 – Introduction to Orbital Mechanics (I and II)

• Orbital Mechanics I - dynamics of spaceflight; concept of gravitational well; orbital motion; Kepler’s Laws; the case of circular orbits
• Orbital Mechanics II - elliptical orbits; reference frames; orbital maneuvers; perturbations of orbital motion; peculiar orbits

Unit 3 - Orbital Mechanics Part III

• Rendezvous in Low Earth Orbit (LEO); relative motion of the chaser vs. the target. Strategy to successfully achieve a rendezvous in LEO

Unit 4 - Orbital Mechanics Part IV

• Interplanetary trajectories; Gravity Assist or Slingshot maneuvers
• Propulsion in space - law of propulsion; concept of specific impulse; types of thrusters; electric propulsion; ascent into space, and re-entry

Unit 5 - Introduction to Space Systems and Space Tethers

• Attitude measurement and control; attitude change; electrical power generation and distribution (overview); thermal balance (overview)
• Space tethers (or cables) as an alternate method to generate electrical power on orbit; Dynamic applications of space tethers, Shuttle-based tether missions
• Reliability; systems redundancy; risk management; safety design for space systems; human rating concept

Unit 6 – The Space Shuttle and the International Space Station (ISS)

• Space Shuttle - concept; design; operations; Challenger and Columbia accidents
• ISS; Soyuz and Progress; Logistic supply to ISS with ATV, HTV, and commercial vehicles

Unit 7 – Special Subjects on Human Spaceflight, and Future of Space Exploration

• Extravehicular Activity (EVA) and space suits, space robotics
• Astronaut training , commercial space , suborbital flights
• Orion and the Space Launch System (SLS)
• Future of Space Exploration and Conclusion
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Instructors

Claude Nicollier
Lecturer
École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne

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Content designer

École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne

The École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, English: Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne) is a research university in Lausanne, Switzerland, that specialises in physical sciences and engineering.

One of the two Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, the school was founded by the Swiss Federal Government with the stated mission to:

Educate engineers and scientists to the highest international standing
Be a national center of excellence in science and technology
Provide a hub for interaction between the scientific community and the industry
EPFL is considered one of the most prestigious universities in the world for engineering and sciences, ranking 17th overall and 10th in engineering in the 2015 QS World University Rankings; 34th overall and 12th in engineering in the 2015 Times Higher Education World University Rankings.

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Platform

Edx

Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the University of California, Berkeley, are just some of the schools that you have at your fingertips with EdX. Through massive open online courses (MOOCs) from the world's best universities, you can develop your knowledge in literature, math, history, food and nutrition, and more. These online classes are taught by highly-regarded experts in the field. If you take a class on computer science through Harvard, you may be taught by David J. Malan, a senior lecturer on computer science at Harvard University for the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. But there's not just one professor - you have access to the entire teaching staff, allowing you to receive feedback on assignments straight from the experts. Pursue a Verified Certificate to document your achievements and use your coursework for job and school applications, promotions, and more. EdX also works with top universities to conduct research, allowing them to learn more about learning. Using their findings, edX is able to provide students with the best and most effective courses, constantly enhancing the student experience.

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