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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

MECH5900M Spacecraft Dynamics and Control

15 creditsClass Size: 150

Module manager: Dr Jongrae Kim

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Engineering Mechanics
Ordinary Differential Equation
Basic Understanding of Computer Programming

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module covers spacecraft control system design & analysis. The main contents are mathematical modelling of spacecraft control system and its computational implementation using MATLAB. It is not required to have a priori experience in MATLAB but basic undergraduate level programming skill is required.


This module aims to provide a solid understanding of development and analysis of spacecraft dynamics & control system.

Learning outcomes
At the end of this module, student will have:

A comprehensive understanding of the relevant scientific principles of the specialisation (SM1m, SM7M)

A comprehensive knowledge and understanding of mathematical and computational models relevant to the engineering discipline, and an appreciation of their limitations (SM5m)

A critical awareness of current problems and/or new insights most of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of the specialisation (SM8M)

Understanding of engineering principles and the ability to apply them to undertake critical analysis of key engineering processes (EA1m)

Ability to identify, classify and describe the performance of systems and components through the use of analytical methods and modelling techniques (EA2)

Ability both to apply appropriate engineering analysis methods for solving complex problems in engineering and to assess their limitations (EA3m, EA6M)

Understanding of, and the ability to apply, an integrated or systems approach to solving complex engineering problems (EA4m)

Knowledge and comprehensive understanding of design processes and methodologies and the ability to apply and adapt them in unfamiliar situations (D10M)

Understanding of the use of technical literature and other information sources (P4)

Apply their skills in problem solving, communication, information retrieval, working with others and the effective use of general IT facilities (G1)

Skills outcomes
Spacecraft system modelling using ordinary differential equations
Dynamic model implementation using MATLAB


1. Space Missions
2. Orbital Design & Manoeuvre
3. Attitude Control System Design
4. Spacecraft Actuators & Sensors
5. Optimal design & Robustness Analysis

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Class tests, exams and assessment12.002.00
Private study hours115.00
Total Contact hours35.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

The students must spend 10 hours self-study per each week for the first 10 weeks of the module to improve their analytical & computational skills for space orbit design & attitude control systems (10weeks x 10 hours = 100 hours). Additional 15 hours is for completing the assignments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

1. 10x10 minutes quiz during the lectures
2. 10X10 minutes programming exercise during the practical sessions

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Computer ExerciseSimulation Implementation using MATLAB50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Unseen exam 2 hr 50.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)50.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:55:00


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