MSc in Space Systems Engineering

About us


ESA's XMM satellite (image credit: ESA)

ESA's XMM satellite (image credit: ESA)

Case studies are used to understand critical aspects of space systems engineering, such as orbit design and orbit control.

Our lecturing team brings together academics from the Astronautics Research Group and from across the Faculty of Engineering and the Environment.

Astronautics Research Group:

Dr Adrian Tatnall (Director of MSc Programme)

Prof. Stephen Gabriel

Dr Guglielmo Aglietti

Dr Hugh Lewis

Dr Scott Walker

Overview of the Astronautics Research Group:

Since the beginning of the space age the University of Southampton has been at the forefront of research and teaching in Astronautics and, in 1958, the Department of Aeronautical Engineering became the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Whilst other groups were formed in the UK during the following years, Southampton maintained its unique position for the integration of its research and teaching activities.

The Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics merged with other departments in 2000 to form Engineering Sciences and the Astronautics Research Group was formally established. In 2010 the School of Engineering Sciences merged with two others to form Engineering and the Environment offering expertise in engineering disciplines that underpin every aspect of twenty-first century life.

Since the 1970s, we have continued to run short courses in Space Systems Engineering for members of staff at the European Space Agency (ESA) and industry. The University of Southampton has established itself as a market leader in this field. All graduates at ESA are now required to attend courses provided by the Astronautics Research Group as part of their basic training.

Over the years, the fundamental and applied research activities of the Group have made a substantial contribution to the state of the art, and hardware developed by its members has flown successfully on space missions.



(applications accepted up to programme commencement)

Spacecraft Systems Engineering Texbook

Lecturers are also authors of the best-selling "Spacecraft Systems Engineering" textbook

The Luigi Napolitano Literature Award was announced for "Spacecraft Systems Engineering (3rd Edition)" by Fortescue, Stark and Swinerd (editors), John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

UK Space Agency

Support to the UK Space Agency

Members of the Astronautics Research Group support a range of activities of the UK Space Agency