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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SPST503 Course ID: 3719 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course takes an in-depth look at the past and current structure, tasking, goals and objectives of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Emphasis is placed on the roles of the individual research centers, space centers and laboratories that form the NASA organization. The origins and impact of the ‘space race’ are discussed in detail.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
11/30/20 - 04/30/21 05/03/21 - 06/27/21 Spring 2021 Session I 8 Week session
02/22/21 - 07/30/21 08/02/21 - 09/26/21 Summer 2021 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, the student will:

  • LO-1: Describe the major programs/advancements in NASA's space program from the time of the Apollo missions to the present day.
  • LO-2: Evaluate the development of lower Earth Orbit and the importance of satellite technology in our modern world.
  • LO-3: Analyze the accomplishments of the STS program and understand the reasons why it was canceled.
  • LO-4: Appraise the importance of the construction of the ISS, including the knowledge gained from experiments performed on the space station, and how this has helped prepare us for more ambitious space exploration goals.
  • LO-5: Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of returning to the Moon, as well as the feasibility of successfully returning on NASA's current timeframe.
  • LO-6: Assess advancements in both technologies and materials that will be needed to successfully establish a permanent presence on the Moon.
  • LO-7: Describe the emergence of commercial spaceflight and how this shift has affected both long and short term space exploration goals.
  • LO-8: Analyze the ethical and moral ramifications of commercial space exploration and mining efforts.
  • LO-9: Discuss the development of China's space program and analyze its effect on relations between China and the U.S.
  • LO-10: Critique the space programs of other countries and the ways in which the increase in the number of space capable nations worldwide affect national security.
  • LO-11: Evaluate options for future space exploration beyond the Moon in terms of scientific advancement and potential useful resources.
  • LO-12: Demonstrate mastery of the course objectives by assessing the importance and benefits of space exploration.

Homework assignments: Homework assignments consist of short answer questions. Your responses should be approximately 250 words per question and should demonstrate mastery of concepts. It is permissible to quote some material in the answer, but the majority of the answer should be in your own words and reflect your own thoughts and understanding.

Research Papers: Research papers give you the opportunity to explore the topics in more depth. Papers should be written in 3rd person, formal scientific writing and should be in APA format. Citations should be cited with parentheses within the text and listed in full at the end of the paper in a separate reference section. All written submissions should be submitted in 12 point Times New Roman font.


I understand real world happenings. Try to stay ahead of the assignments so you can stick to the guidelines I set, which I set for you to help you stay on track. However, if you need more time for any reason, ask for it ahead of time, after due dates assignments will be deducted 10 points per day.

NameGrade %
Forums 40.00 %
Forum 1 5.00 %
Forum 2 5.00 %
Forum 3 5.00 %
Forum 4 5.00 %
Forum 5 5.00 %
Forum 6 5.00 %
Forum 7 5.00 %
Forum 8 5.00 %
Research Paper 60.00 %
Research Proposal 15.00 %
Annotated Bibliography 6.00 %
Research Paper 39.00 %
Book Title: Heavens and the Earth: A Political History of the Space Age (Ebook available through the APUS Online Library)
Author: McDougall, Walter A
Publication Info:
ISBN: 9781597404280

Book Title:The Case for Space: How the Revolution in Spaceflight Opens Up a Future of Limitless Possibility - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Prometheus
Author:Zubrin, Robert
Unit Cost:$17.89

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.