MSc in Space Systems Engineering

Programme Information

Key facts

Entry requirements: Upper Second or first-class honours degree or equivalent in engineering, mathematics or a science based subject; .applicants with relevant employment experience will be considered
Duration: 1 year (full-time); part time study is not available
Assessment: Examinations, coursework, thesis
Start date: October 2012
Applying: University application form with transcripts
Closing date: 31st July each year
Fees: Please see
Careers: Space Industry; further research
Intake: 20


This MSc course is concerned with the design of all the elements that make up a space mission. The multidisciplinary nature of space systems engineering requires people with a range of talents. This course provides the grounding for these people by concentrating on an integrated approach to the complete design of a total space system and showing how the various component subsystems function and interface with one another.

Core modules include:

Spacecraft engineering design - A broad appreciation of the processes involved in the design of selected spacecraft subsystems. An illustration of the systems engineering approach by the use of case studies in each of the major mission types (communications, science, remote sensing and manned missions)
Concurrent engineering design - An understanding of the concept of concurrent spacecraft engineering. A particular mission is investigated and the key design drivers identified. Alternative design concepts are discussed and an integrated approach to the total systems design is presented.
Spacecraft instrumentation - An assessment of the requirements for spacecraft instrumentation and an overview of the different types of instruments flown on spacecraft. An appreciation and understanding of the development of the design processes involved for different instruments and how they interface with the spacecraft platform.
Spacecraft structural design - An overview of the issues that need to be addressed in the design of spacecraft structures and mechanisms and an appreciation and understanding of the development of the whole spacecraft structural design process.
Astronautics - The development of an understanding of spacecraft system engineering and the rôle of subsystem design. Will provide knowledge and understanding of the space environment, spacecraft system and subsystem design and how the spacecraft industry functions.

Programme Content

Mandatory modules

Module Code Module Title Credit Points Semester
SESA6036 Spacecraft Engineering Design 20 1/2
SESA6038 Concurrent Engineering Design 30 1/2
SESA6044 Spacecraft Instrumentation 10 2
SESA6029 Spacecraft Structural Design 10 2
SESA3005 Astronautics 20 1/2

Optional modules
Students select a total of 30 credit points from the following M and H level modules with no more than 10 from the H module list.

     M Level:

Module Code Module Title Credit Points Semester
SESA6002 Avionics 10 1
SESG6018 Design Search and Optimisation 1: Principles, Methods & Parameterisation 10 1
SESG6019 Design Search and Optimisation 2: Case Studies (SESG6018 is prerequisite) 10 2
SESM6002 Advanced Electrical Systems 10 1
MATH6111 Numerical Methods 10 1
MATH6115 Statistics for Engineering Systems 10 1
SESG6005 Advanced Digital Control 10 2
SESS6061 Advanced Finite Element Analysis 10 2
ELEC6087 Biologically Inspired Robots 20 1/2
SESM6017 Fuel Cells and PV Systems I 10 1
SESM6017 Fuel Cells and PV Systems II 10 2
SEOS6017 Introductory Remote Sensing of the Oceans 15 1

     H Level:

Module Code Module Title Credit Points Semester
SESM3003 Classical Control Design 10 1
ELEC3012 Robotic Systems 10 1
SESA3017 Electrical Power Systems 10 2
SESM3012 Cryogenics & Superconductivity 10 2
SESS3009 Finite Element Analysis I 10 1

External Examiner

Professor George Fraser, Leicester University, is the external examiner for this course.


(applications accepted up to programme commencement)

Cassini (image credit: NASA)

Cassini (image credit: NASA)

An interferometric cartwheel constellation

An interferometric cartwheel constellation