Online Course: Spaceflight - a Technical Primer

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Programme Description

Online Course: Spaceflight - a Technical Primer

TU Delft Open & Online Education

Next admission period opens February 2018


The giant leaps we have made since the middle of the previous century are founded on the application of knowledge and the cooperation of experts from many different fields of expertise. Interested in space, have technical knowledge but lack an aerospace background?

This course provides you with an introduction to the key concepts, methods, and systems which enable spaceflight.

Leading questions will be:

  • How do spacecraft make it into space?
  • How do spacecraft travel through space?
  • What are the systems comprising a spacecraft and which factors affect their design and operation?

If you want to work in the spaceflight sector and require technical insight, this course will orient you in the field and provide you with knowledge of key concepts, methods, and systems. It will give you a platform from which to launch your collaboration on and deeper investigation of spaceflight topics.

On completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand, visualize and conduct basic analysis and calculations for the two-body problem. Topics include Kepler orbits, ∆V budget, patched conics, orbit geometry, time and coordinate systems.
  • Identify the most common classes of analytical and numerical methods and their use in spaceflight engineering.
  • Understand and conduct basic calculations on launch vehicle performance and relate launch characteristics to space missions and systems. Topics include the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation, single and multi-stage performance, launch site location.
  • Identify important characteristics of the space environment and understand the implications for spaceflight engineering and missions.
  • Characterize different types of spacecraft and their related supporting systems (e.g. ground-based systems) and relate them to relevant mission types.
  • Identify and describe spacecraft configurations and subsystems in the context of the space environment and particular mission types.



A written exam:

  • counts for 100% of the grade
  • closed book
  • self-made formula sheet allowed (hand-written, A4-paper, both sides may be used)


  • Cost: € 750
  • Course Length: 9 weeks
  • Estimated Effort: 8 - 10 hours per week
This school offers programs in:
  • English

Last updated February 17, 2018
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750 EUR
Netherlands - Delft
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