MECH 372 / ENGR 372
Space Systems Design and Engineering II
Launch of the NASA GeneSat-1, December 2006
Dr. Christopher Kitts
Associate Professor
Director, Robotic Systems Laboratory
Office: Guadalupe Hall 308 
E-mail: ckitts @
Dr. Michael Hicks
Advanced Technology Center, Lockheed Martin
Contact: michael.t.hicks @


General Course Information
The DoD DSCS III 3-axis stabilized satellite
Class Announcements & News

Kitts will be traveling from Fri 3/17-Thurs 3/23.  Somebody else will proctor the exam.  Kitts will be available via email to answer questions and can potentially do a skype/hangout session with people if need be.


Exam 3 (a clean version and a version with solutions) from the last time the course was taught is available below.


You do NOT need to do the 2nd to last problem on HW8 or the last problem on HW9.  This has been noted on each of those homeworks.


RE-GRADING: I am more than happy to double check grading deductions that you think should be corrected.  But you need to get these to me quickly.  Put a post-it note on your assignment that states the problem number and issue, and return the assignment/test.  I MUST have these in my hand (not in the mail, etc.) by Friday, March 24 at 9 am. 


Lecture Notes & Class References
Week 1
Jan 10
Introduction to Course
Lecture Slides: Course Introduction (Kitts)
Introduction to Space Systems
Lecture Slides: Introduction to Space Systems (Kitts)
Introduction to Electronics
Lecture Slides: Introduction to Electronics (Kitts)
READ (if you haven't taken MECH 371):  
Understanding Space: Chp 1
Understanding Space: Chp 2 (historical background)
Understanding Space: Chp 16 (cont background)

REVIEW: Any basic electronic book, as necessary

Week 2
Jan 17
Thermal Subsystem: Heat Transfer, Environment, Control
Lecture Slides: Thermal Subsystem (Kitts)
DUE: HW 1 - Intro to Space Systems.  For students who have not taken MECH 371
READ: Understanding Space, Section 13.3 (thermal portions of the section at the beginning and end)
Week 3
Jan 24
Thermal Guest Lecture
Lecture Slides:  Thermal Design Case Study (Diaz-Aguado) [new version as of 3:40 pm 1/24/17]

Kitts' Notes from Millan's Lecture

Power Subsystem: Generation, Storage, Regulation and Control
Lecture Slides: Power Subsystem (Kitts)
Power Budget: Example Spreadsheet
DUE: HW 2 - Intro to Electronics
READ: Understanding Space, Section 13.2
Week 4
Jan 31
Power Guest Lecture
Lecture Slides: Advanced Power Systems (Teofilo) - updated at 12:30 pm 1/31
Power Subsystem (continued)


DUE: HW 3 - Thermal Subsystem
Week 5
Feb 7
Spacecraft Structures (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: The Mechanical Environment (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Structures Theory I (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Materials (Hicks)
Slides: Structural Mechanics Supplement (Hicks)
DUE: HW 4 - Power Subsystem
Week 6
Feb 14
QUIZ 1 (Module 1) - at start of class
Spacecraft Structures (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Structures Theory II (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Structures - Aerospace Applications & Practices (Yiu)
Reference: NASA Standard 5001
Reference: NASA Standard 5002
Reference: NASA Standard 7002
Week 7
Feb 21
Spacecraft Structures (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Spacecraft Configuration (Hicks)
Lecture Slides: Materials  Practice (Henshall)
DUE: HW 5- Mechanical Environment, Structural Mechanics I, and Materials
Week 8
Feb 28
Spacecraft Payloads/Missions
Lecture Slides: Payload Technology (Kitts)
Supplemental: Comm Link Budget Spreadsheet
Supplemental: Comm Link Budget Tutorial
Spacecraft Mechanisms
Lecture Slides: Overview of Machine Elements (Kitts)
Flight Computing
Lecture Slides: Flight Processing (Kitts)
DUE: HW 6 - Structural Mechanics II and Spacecraft Configuration
Week 9
Mar 7
Flight Computing
Lecture Slides: Flight Software (Cotran)
Review: Notes on Cotran Lecture (Kitts)
QUIZ 2 (Module 2)
Week 10
Mar 14
Spacecraft Mechanisms (continued)
Lecture Slides: Spacecraft Mechanism- JWST and NIRCam (Witherspoon)
Lecture Slides: Spacecraft Mechanisms - GOES (Chow)

Review: Notes on Mechanisms lecture (Kitts)

Nanosail-D deployment video


DUE: HW 7 - Payload Technologies
DUE: HW 8 - Flight Processing
DUE: HW 9 - Machine Elements & Mechanisms
Week 11
Mar 21
Final Exam: QUIZ 3 (Module 3)
Note - In general, homework assignments should be turned in by noon on the FRIDAY of the week in which they become due (unless otherwise stated).  You may turn them in during class on Tuesday, or turn them in prior to the Friday deadline on campus.  You can put them in the INBOX outside my on-campus office door, slide them under my office door, or put them in my faculty mailbox.  You can also mail them - I will use the postmark as the submission date/time.
Topic Assignment Solutions Results / Notes
1 - Intro to Space Systems
Homework 1
Results (out of 10 pts): Max=10; Min=9; Ave=9.9; Median=10; StDev=0.25
2 - Intro to Electronics
Homework 2
Solution Sheet
Results (out of 7 pts): Max=7; Min=4.25; Ave=6.5; Median=6.75; StDev=0.7
3 - Thermal
Homework 3
Solution Sheet
Results (out of 10 pts): Max=10; Min=5.5; Ave=8.1; Median=8; StDev=1.1 ** several still ungraded
4 - Power
Homework 4
Solution Sheet
Results (out of 13 pts): Max=13; Min=2.75; Ave=11.7; Median=12.5; StDev=2 
5 - Structures I
Homework 5
Solution Sheet
Results (out of 12 pts): Max=11.5; Min=9.05; Ave=10.5; Median=10.7; StDev=.67 
6 - Structures II
Homework 6
Solution Sheet
Results (out of 10 pts): Max=10; Min=6.5; Ave=9; Median=9; StDev=.95 
7 - Payload Technologies


Homework 7
No Solution Sheet
Solutions Results
8 -  Flight Computing
Homework 8
No Solution Sheet
9 -  Machine Elements & Mechanisms
Homework 9
No Solution Sheet
Extra Credit Research Paper Assignment N/A
Note restrictions on receiving credit
Must have topic approved by 3/31/2017
Must turn in paper by 4/7/2017



Quizzes & Exams

Samples of previous quizzes/exams 
Sample Exam 1:  Exam - Exam w/Solutions
Sample Exam 2:  Exam - Exam w/Solutions
Sample Exam 3: Exam - Exam w/Solutions
Exam 1 results & solutions 
Closed Book Results (out of 40 pts): Max=39; Min=31.5; Ave=35.7; Median=36; StDev=2.23

Open Book Results (out of 40 pts): Max=37; Min=22.5; Ave=31.6; Median=31.75; StDev=3.64 

Combined Results (out of 80 pts): Max=74.5; Min=55; Ave=67.23; Median=68; StDev=5

Exam 2 results & solutions
Closed Book Results (out of 54 pts): Max=54; Min=45.33; Ave=52; Median=53; StDev=2.6

Open Book Results (out of 55 pts): Max=55; Min=39.5; Ave=50; Median=50; StDev=4 

Combined Results (out of 109 pts): Max=109; Min=89.67; Ave=101; Median=102; StDev=5.44

Exam 3 results & solutions 



The Story of the EarthRise Photo
Understanding Space, 3rd Edition Problems
Understanding Space, 2nd Edition (NOT the edition we are using, but has much of the same content - note that problem numbers may be different)
Matlab & Simulink Tutorials
Orbit Analysis Programs
JTRACK (web based)
STK (free download of basic package)
NOVA (free 30 day trial)
AMSAT's collection of programs and tools