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Introduction to Spacecraft Technology

Module MW1979

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

MW1979 is a semester module in English language at 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)
120 h 45 h 4 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


The course provides knowledge of the fundamentals of Rocketry: Rocket Equation; Rocket Staging; Rocket Propulsion (chemical and electrical); Launcher Systems; Space Environment; Rocket Ascent; Astrodynamics; Trajectories; Orbit Transfers

Learning Outcome

After the successful conclusion of the module, the students are able to apply the basic physics of rocketry and propulsion to carry out a first order desing of a launcher system with respect to the design budgets of mass, power and volume. The students are able to analyse the complexity and the limitations of launching space craft systems and payloads into orbit. Furthermore, the students are able to apply the basic theory of astronautics, especially that of orbital trajectories and transfer maneuvers, with respect to the space craft's propulsion efficiency and the mission time. In general, the students are able to evaluate typical baseline launcher concepts and mission concepts with respect to the typical trade-offs in rocketry, namely mass and power.


Student has to be registered in ESPACE Double Degree Program and spend the 5th semester at Wuhan University.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

In the lecture, the topics are taught with the help of presentations and black board sketches. The accompanying tutorials repeat and engross the crucial topics. With the help of rough calculations and rule of thumb methods, the studens lern how to do first order system evaluations.


lecture, presentation, powerpoint assistance, hand-outs, black board


Lecture notes; U.Walter, Astronautics, Wiley-VCH, ISBN 3-527-40685-9;
Further literature survey is given in the hand-out

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

The module Introduction to Satellite Technology coveres the theory and physics of rocketry and astronautics. The evaluating and analytical command of this expertise cluster is a fundamental prerequisite for the professional qualification of an academically educated rocket engineer. To proof the learning achievement of this study cluster, the students have to pass a written exam pressed for time. The exam comprises typically 20 tasks, which are short questions as well as calculation problems with a partitioning of about 50% to 50%. To work on the exam, the students are provided with a formulary; besides a non-programmable calculator, no further auxiliary material is allowed.

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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