Skip Navigation

Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SPST435 Course ID: 3163 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course is a summary of U.S. and international space programs. The student will assess the Earth and its space environment, to include methods of scientific exploration and spacecraft and payload criteria at the basic physics level. This course elaborates on Space Station flight operations, its supporting elements and planned systems. Students will study commercial applications, logistical support, maintenance and servicing design concepts. (Prerequisites: SPST200 or SPST300)

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to

  • Describe the planets and associated satellites within our solar system
  • Develop an overview of the basic features (geology/geography /orbit) of planetary bodies
  • Discuss US and international space programs focused on planetary exploration
  • Explain priorities for planetary exploration within the scientific community
  • Outline potential future planetary space exploration missions

Reading Assignments: Read the each week's assignment in the Lessons area in Sakai

Supplemental Readings: (none; but you will need to conduct research to complete your written assignments.

Forum Assignments: : There are multiple required Forums in this course. All forums are graded, including the introduction forum. These forums will require some research and will be graded on your detail and analysis – you will not receive 100% simply for participation. I expect well thought-out discussions and responses to other students’ forum posts.

Homework Assignments: Seven homework assignments will be posted to the online classroom (they are also briefly described in the weekly schedule below). These will involve information from your resource searches, including internet research. Homework will be graded and returned before the exams are posted, so that you can use them for studying. 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
  • Post your documents using a .doc rather than a .docx file
  • Put your name on at least the first page of the paper, and include your last name in the filename of the paper
  • Please number each page of your paper
  • It’s recommended that you use Turnitin – see "course guidelines" in this syllabus for details

Exams/Quizzes: There will be 5 open-resource quizzes posted to the online classroom. The schedule below shows which weeks will have quizzes. They will consist of short answer (essay) questions.

The midterm exam will be open-resource, but it will have a time limit. It will consist mainly of short answers. Absolutely no late exams will be accepted.

Final Exam: The final exam will consist of short answers or essay questions. It will also be open-resource and will be available during the final week of class; again no late exams will be accepted.

NameGrade %
Forums 20.00 %
Forum 1 - Introductions 2.50 %
Forum 2 - Terrestrial Planet Magnetic Fields 2.50 %
Forum 3 - Choice of two topics 2.50 %
Forum 4 - Choice of two topics 2.50 %
Forum 5 - Two of Saturn's Moons 2.50 %
Forum 6 - Uranus & Neptune 2.50 %
Forum 7 - Choice of four topics 2.50 %
Forum 8 - Course Wrap-up & Comments 2.50 %
Essays 21.00 %
Assignment 1: Mercury (week 1) 3.00 %
Assignment 2: Venus (week 2) 3.00 %
Assignment 3: Mars (week 3) 3.00 %
Assignment 4: Jupiter (week 4) 3.00 %
Assignment 5: Saturn (week 5) 3.00 %
Assignment 6: Uranus, Neptune & the Kuiper Belt (week 6) 3.00 %
Assignment 7: Moons of Jupiter & Saturn (week 7) 3.00 %
Quizzes 20.00 %
Week 2 Quiz 4.00 %
Week 3 Quiz 4.00 %
Week 5 Quiz 4.00 %
Week 6 Quiz 4.00 %
Week 7 Quiz 4.00 %
Midterm Exams 19.00 %
Mid Term Exam (Week 4) 19.00 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Final Exam - Week 8 20.00 %
Unassigned 0.00 %
Week 3 Quiz Kris 0.00 %
Mid Term Exam (Week 4) Kris 0.00 %

Web Sites

In addition to the required course texts, the following public domain web sites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

These sites are just a place to start; feel free to use additional (reliable) material, including printed texts and other websites (your forums and assignments will require that you cite references):

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address


Nine Planets

National Geographic

Astronomy Notes (N. Strobel)

Educational Observatory

Wikipedia (checked for accuracy)

NASA – Planetary Missions

JPL Planetary Data System

Book Title:There are no required books for this course.
Author: No Author Specified

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.