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Space Environment and its Simulation

Module MW0460

This Module is offered by Chair of Astronautics (Prof. Walter).

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2020 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2020SS 2013WS 2012/3

Basic Information

MW0460 is a semester module in English language at Bachelor’s level and Master’s level which is offered in winter semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Catalogue of non-physics elective courses
Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
90 h 30 h 3 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Space activities are affected by extreme environmental conditions, such as verberation, vibrations and shock load during start, the residual atmosphere and vacuum during launch, and neutral particles, plasma, radiation, fields, particles and µg conditions in orbit during operation. In the frame of this lecture die individual conditions of the space environment are described in detail, and their effect on technology and operation of spacecraft and satellites are described. Additionally, the simulation of these extreme conditions on Earth is addressed.

Learning Outcome

After the successful conclusion of the module, the students are able to
- understand the conditions of space environment in space flight;
- analyze the effects which are relevant for space flight;
- understand and to recognize the necessity for pre-launch simulation of the space environment;
- analyze the challenges and restrictions of these simulation in laboratories on Earth.



Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the classroom the competencies and contents are communicated by blackboard and slides. The slides are provided to the students in the form of written handouts. Additionally, further self-studies are recommended based on the provided list of literature.


- presentations in electronic form
- blackboard
- movies and animations


- Alan C. Tribble, The Space Environment, Princeton University Press, 2003, ISBN: 0-691-10299-6
- Gerd W. Prölls, Physics of the Earth's Space Environment, Springer Verlag, 2004, ISBN: 3-540-21426-7
- Frank Fahy, John Walker, Fundamentals of Noise and Vibration, E&FN Spon, 1998, ISBN: 0-419-27700-8
- NASA Technical Handbook, Dynamic Environmental Criteria, NASA-HDBK-7005, 2001

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

With a written examination it shall be ensured that the students are able to remember and to understand basic principles of space environment and its impact on spacecraft and satellites, as well as the main technologies for simulation of the extreme space environmental conditions on Earth. They should verify that they are able to build interrelations between space environment and its effect on satellites.

Note in view of the limitations on university operations as a result of the CoViD19 pandemic: If the basic conditions (hygiene, physical distance rules, etc.) for a classroom-based examination cannot be met, the planned form of examination can be changed to a written or oral online examination in accordance with §13a APSO. The decision about this change will be announced as soon as possible, but at least 14 days before the date of the examination by the examiner after consultation with the board of examiners of the respective study program.

Exam Repetition

There is a possibility to take the exam in the following semester.

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