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
  • Hope you have a great Spring Break!


    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 
    Closed Book Results (out of 30 pts): Max=30; Min=22; Ave=27; Median=27; StDev=2.62.35

    Open Book Results (out of 25 pts): Max=25; Min=14.5; Ave=22.5; Median=23.25; StDev=2.26

    Combined Results (out of 55 pts): Max=54; Min=39; Ave=49; Median=50.5; StDev=3.86 



    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