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Human Spaceflight

Module MW2155

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 2014 (current)

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

available module versions
SS 2014WS 2013/4

Basic Information

MW2155 is a semester module in German 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)
150 h 45 h 5 CP

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


Contents of the lecture:
Astronaut selection, training and education of astronauts, introduction to manned space transportation systems, living and working in space, space environment and its biomedical effects on the human body and psyche during spaceflight, space science, fundamentals of life support systems, physico-chemical vs. bio-regenerative life support systems, design of orbital and planetary habitats, space stations, preparation and execution of extra-vehicular activities, utilization of local resources (e.g. on the Moon) versus full resupply, mission analysis and planning of manned missions

In the tutorials the contents of the lecture are consolidated using a single example mission throughout and providing a weekly overview of current events in spaceflight in general and human spaceflight in particular.

Learning Outcome

After participating in the module human spaceflight students have insight into all aspects of human spaceflight. They therefore can differentiate the areas of manned and unmanned spaceflight exactly. They are able to understand the special challenges created by the hostile environment in space and on other celestial bodies and know about their effects on engineering problems during the design of manned spacecraft and missions. The students can use their understanding of the technical and political boundary conditions to analyze the necessary requirements for the technical systems involved (e.g. life support systems). After completing the module, the students are able to independently evaluate system and mission concepts with regard to their basic mission objectives.


Basic knowledge in the area of spaceflight and system design, as it is for instance conveyed in the Bachelor module "Fundamentals of Spaceflight", is required. It is not a compulsory prerequisite, but it immensely aids understanding the contents of this module.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

VO 2 Human Spaceflight Tue, 14:45–16:15, MW 0250
and singular or moved dates
UE 1 Tutorial Human Spaceflight Tue, 16:30–17:30, MW 0250

Learning and Teaching Methods

During the lecture the content is conveyed through presentations. The students have online access to a collection of slides.
During the tutorial, the lecture content is consolidated and expanded through a short presentation. Afterwards, the students have to independently solve a problem using the conveyed knowledge. The problems can be either mathematical calculations or conceptual systems designs.


Lecture, slides, worksheets


Human Spaceflight Mission Analysis and Design, W. Larson and L. Pranke, McGraw-Hill, 2000 ISBN 0-07-236811-X

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

After the lecture period there will be a written exam (90 min). In mostly open questions, some multiple choice questions and a few math problems the students have to demonstrate their knowledge of the basic processes, relationships, engineering issues, figures of merit and their general scale in the area of human spaceflight. This knowledge has to be transferred quantitatively to problems that were not specificly covered in the lecture or the tutorial.
Allowed aids: non-programmable calculator, dictionary for foreign students.

Exam Repetition

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

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