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SPST330 - Launch and Reentry Systems

Course Details

Course Code: SPST330 Course ID: 4835 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This is a survey course of launch systems and re-entry principles that reviews the basic principles of rocket propulsion, and covers launch windows, times and locations, launch vehicles and their subsystems, the concept of staging, current launch systems, re-entry design including trade-offs and options, and ICBM re-entry systems.





Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
12/31/18 - 05/31/19 06/03/19 - 07/28/19 Spring 2019 Session D 8 Week session
03/25/19 - 08/30/19 09/02/19 - 10/27/19 Summer 2019 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Apply basic principles of rocket science to launch operations
  2. Differentiate concepts of launch windows, launch times, and launch locations
  3. Analyze launch vehicle subsystems and their key design issues
  4. Apply the principles of rocket staging to a specific example
  5. Analyze current launch systems being used by the U.S. and other countries
  6. Differentiate the competing design requirements for re-entry vehicles
  7. Deconstruct the basic vehicle options and trade-offs in re-entry design and trajectory options
  8. Analyze ICBM re-entry systems (unclassified discussion)

Forums: For each forum assignment, you are required to post your own response to the given topic and to respond to at least two of your classmates. Your main post must be at least 200 words, and your responses must be substantive (not merely saying “Good post”).

Research paper subject approval: the student will select a topic related to the course to research and present in the Research Paper. The student will contact the instructor through the Sakai Message System not later than the end of Week 2 to submit his or her request, with rationale, for subject approval.

Assignments/Essays: Three homework assignments will be posted to the online classroom (they are also briefly described in the weekly schedule below). Assignment/essay requirements:

  • Papers should be 12-point font, double spaced and be approximately 3-4 pages in length
  • Papers must include references/citations; those that do not will receive no higher than a “C” for the assignment
  • Put your name on at least the first page of the paper, include your last name in the filename of the paper, and please number each page of your paper

Exams: the midterm exam and final exam will both be open-book, open-resource. The short-answer questions will require well-researched, well though-out and detailed answers.

Research paper: not later than the end of the course (Week 8), the student will submit the final paper, the subject of which must be related to the course topic. The final paper must not be less than 8 pages in length, not including title page and bibliography/references. There must be a minimum of two published (not web site) references, such as textbooks or papers published in professional journals, and at least four total sources, which may also include magazine or web articles.

Final paper grading: the research paper will be graded on the following criteria:

  • Research: did the student conduct important and relevant research in the area?
  • Analysis: did the student thoroughly analyze and evaluate the research and data?
  • Conclusions: did the student make original, logical, rational and convincing arguments based on the analysis?
  • Was the paper well-written in a clear, logical style using proper grammar, spelling, and punctuation? Was the paper properly formatted and referenced?
NameGrade %
Introduction Forum 0.50 %
Introduction Forum 0.50 %
Forums 20.00 %
Week 1 Forum: Newton's Third Law & The Ideal Rocket Equation 2.50 %
Week 2 Forum: Launch locations 2.50 %
Week 3 Forum: Single stage to orbit 2.50 %
Week 4 Forum: Commercial Launch Systems 2.50 %
Week 5 Forum: Re-entry concepts 2.50 %
Week 6 Forum: Re-entry concepts continued 2.50 %
Week 7 Forum: ICBM Re-entry 2.50 %
Week 8 Forum: Course wrap-up and comments 2.50 %
Assignments/Essays 30.00 %
Assignment #1 10.00 %
Assignment #2 10.00 %
Assignment #3 10.00 %
Research Paper 15.00 %
Research Paper 15.00 %
Midterm Exam 15.00 %
Midterm 15.00 %
Final Exam 19.50 %
Final Exam 19.50 %

See the Course Materials in the Sakai classroom Lessons area for specific instructions on accessing the eBook.

Websites: Must be government or industry sites; e.g. NASA, NOAA, Boeing, Space X, ULA, etc.

Book Title:Introduction to Launch Systems and Re-entry - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
ISBN:9781308656953
Publication Info:VS-McGraw-Hill
Author:No Author Specified
Unit Cost:$54.30
Electronic ISBN:9781121679320
Electronic Unit Cost:$35.00

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.