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2010/1 Module Catalogue
 Module Code: EEE3020 Module Title: SPACECRAFT BUS SUBSYSTEMS
Module Provider: Electronic Engineering Short Name: EE3.SBS
Level: HE3 Module Co-ordinator: LAPPAS V Dr (Elec Eng)
Number of credits: 15 Number of ECTS credits: 7.5
Module Availability

Spring Semester

Assessment Pattern

Unit(s) of Assessment


Weighting Towards Module Mark( %)


Examination:  2 hour closed book examination paper.  3 sections – answer one question from each section




Coursework:  PC-based assignment on Spacecraft Bus Subsystems  – 2000-3000 word report




Part-time students:  As above



Module Overview

Knowledge of EE2.ism (Introduction to Space Mission Design) and EE3.dyc (Dynamics and Control of spacecraft) is useful background.

Module Aims

To introduce the student to the operating principles, design and operation of spacecraft bus systems to support a wide variety of spacecraft missions – primarily in Earth orbit.

Learning Outcomes
By the end of the module, the student should have a good understanding of the principles, technology and operation of a spacecraft’s key ‘bus’ or ‘platform’ systems and how the space and mission environments constrain these.
The student should be capable of applying this knowledge the produce a preliminary design of a spacecraft bus to meet particular mission objectives. They should be able to analyse and evaluate the performance of key systems of the spacecraft, including its power system, thermal control system, communications and data handling system, and its mechanical and propulsion systems.

The coursework allows the student to synthesise data from a number of sources to understand a particular spacecraft design and to evaluate its performance based on the analysis of real spacecraft telemetry data derived from that spacecraft. The student will then produce a succinct and clear report describing this analysis.

Module Content
[1-2]     Heat Transfer in Space: basic processes - conduction, convection, radiation;
insolation, albedo, Earth-emission; radiation heat transfer: black bodies, the Planck curve, Wein's law, Stefan's law, emissivity, absorptivity, reflectivity and transmissivity; Kirchhoff's law, grey-body assumptions; simple computation of the temperature of a spherical planet; view-factors, reciprosity.
[3]        Thermal Model of a Satellite: temperature balance equation; lumped component
analysis - FDM, FEM; thermal vacuum testing.
[4]        Thermal Control: passive control, a/e values, paints, metals, SSMs, MLI blankets,
space suits; active control: thermal louvres, heaters, heat pipes, VCHPs.
[5-6]     Power Generation: principle and model of a solar cell (GaAs, Si, InP); construction,
role of coverglasses; I-V characteristics, Voc, Isc and maximum power point; effects of temperature and exposure to radiation; solar arrays, "spinner" and "paddle" configuration, layout and diode protection; alternative power sources: fuel cells, RTGs, nuclear power plants.
[7]        Power Storage: primary and secondary cells (NiCd, NiH2, NiMH, Li-Ion) -
characteristics and construction, charge-discharge cycles, temperature range, charging methods.
[8-9]     Power Control and Distribution: regulators - BCR, BDR and shunt regulators; DC-
DC converters, linear regulators, switching regulators - buck, boost and inverting; switches, current limiters and protection devices.
[10]      Power System Design: topologies, maximum power point tracking, direct energy
transfer, regulated and un-regulated busses; power budgets, BOL, EOL calculations, lighting conditions and seasonal variations.

[11-13] Communications Link: TT&C frequencies, Doppler curve - AOS, LOS TCA;           
link design: carrier-to-noise ratio, Eb/No, signal quality.
[14-16] Telemetry and Telecommand Systems Design function of TT&C system; launch and early operation phase (LEOP), end-of-life operations; tracking methods, ranging; telemetry systems, formatting and synchronisation; command systems, validation and authorisation; packet systems, CCSDS;
[17-19] On-Board Computers: hardware design issues; software design issues; effect of ionising radiation - SEEs and total dose damage; example systems.
[20]      Ground-Segment: ground-station design - Mission Operations Control Centre (MOCC); ground-support equipment; use at AIT and LEOP; orbit determination. Tour of Surrey’s MOCC.
STRUCTURES, MECHANISMS, AOCS & AIT       (VL)     (10 hours)
[21-23] Structures and Mechanisms: mechanical design and environment; structural requirements stress, strain, resonance and vibration; materials selection: vacuum/ microgravity effects, outgassing; materials compatibility; strength-to-weight ratio; tribology.
[24-27] Attitude & Orbit Control Systems: Attitude determination sensors: sun sensors, Earth horizon sensors, magnetometers, star sensors. Attitude control systems: magnetorquers, reaction wheels, momentum wheels, CMGs, thrusters. Orbit control systems: choice of propellant; liquid engines, solid motors; hybrid engines; arc-jets, resistojets, ion-thrusters.
[28-30] Manufacture and AIT: PA/QA, reliability issues; manufacture process; testing:

mechanical properties (MoI, CoG); vibration and acoustic testing, EMC test; thermal vacuum test; solar simulation; launch campaign.

Methods of Teaching/Learning
3 hours per week
Lectures: Power and Thermal Control Systems (10 hrs AE); TT&C, Communications and Data Systems (10 hrs TVV); Structures, Mechanisms, AOCS and AIT (10 hrs VL). 30 Contact Hours.
Assignments: SpacecraftTelemetry Data Analysis: PC-Based Exercise. Set: Week 3 Due Week 10

Labs: None.

Selected Texts/Journals
Fortesque,           Spacecraft Systems Engineering 0-471-61951-5            Wiley               £40      A
Stark & Swinerd (3rd ed.), 2003
Sellers, J J           Understanding Space                    0-07-242468-0            McGraw-Hill     £47      A
                              2nd Ed 2000
Maral &                Satellite Communications              0-471-49654-5            Wiley               £65      B
Bousquet              Systems (4th ed.), 2002
Larson, W.J.        Space Mission Analysis &           0-7923-19982   Kluwer Ac Pubs         £116    C
                             Design (2nd Ed), 1991
Crusse, et al.       Principles of Space                       0-521-45164-7   Cambridge               £65      C

                              Instrument Design 1998                                          University Press

Last Updated

12 August 2010