Introduction to Spaceflight (Lecture)

Lecturer (assistant)
Duration2 SWS
TermWintersemester 2020/21
Language of instructionGerman
Position within curriculaSee TUMonline
DatesSee TUMonline


  • 03.11.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 10.11.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 17.11.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 24.11.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 01.12.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 08.12.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 15.12.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 22.12.2020 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 12.01.2021 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 19.01.2021 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 26.01.2021 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 02.02.2021 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.
  • 09.02.2021 13:00-14:30 Online: Videokonferenz / Zoom etc.

Admission information


At the end of the module the students will be able to understand the basic principles of rocketry, astrodynamics and the space environment and can identify their effects on the spacecraft system. They are able to adopt this knowledge for mission analysis and concept evaluation. The students will have learned all relevant tools for contribution in space mission analysis and design.


• Basics of Rocketry: Rocket Principle & Rocket Equation, Momentum Force & Pressure Force, Specific Solutions of the Rocket Equation, Propulsion Demand & Propellant Demand, Efficiency, Trade off: Structure vs. Payload, Rocket Optimization, Payload Optimization, Parallel & Tandem Staging • Propulsion Systems: Propulsion Concepts, Thermodynamic Aspects, Flow Conditions, Combustion Chamber and Nozzle Geometry, Nozzle Optimization, Engine Design, Expansion Ratio, Cooling, Monopropellant Motors, Bipropellant Motors, Solid Propellant Motors, Cold Gas, Propellants, Feed Systems, Electric Propulsion, Exotic Propulsion Systems • Launcher Systems: Performance Characteristics, Selection Criteria, Launch Loads, Payload Capacity, Costs, Reliability, Available Systems, Launch Sites, Satellite Market, Future Prognoses • Environment: Environmental Influences, Atmosphere, Atmosphere Layers and Physics, Density Allocation, Solar Influence, Chemical Composition, Temperature, Electromagnetic Properties, Solar Flares, Solar Constant, Earth Magnetic Field, Van Allan Belts, Galactic Cosmic Radiation, Radiation Effects, Space Debris, Shielding • Ascent: Equations of Motion, Coordinate Systems, Ascent Trajectories, Ascent Phases, Gravity Turn & Pitch Maneuver • Astrodynamics I: Newton's Equation of Motion, Laws of Conservation (Kepler's 2nd Law, Vis-Viva Equation), Solutions of Equation of Motion, Energy Considerations, Conservation of Energy and Momentum, Two Body Problem, • Astrodynamics II: Orbital Trajectories (Circle, Ellipsis, Parabola, Hyperbola), Orbit Elements (Keplerian Elements), 2-Impulse Orbit Transfer (Hohmann-Transfer), Vis-Viva, • Interplanetary Flight: Interplanetary Trajectories, Sphere of Influence, Transfer Times, Launch Window, Fly-By Maneuver, Weak Stability Boundary, Libration Points • Reentry: Thermal Problem of Reentry, Equations of Motion, Reentry in High Altitude, Ballistic Reentry, Skip Reentry, Lift Reentry, Thermal Loads, Countermeasures, Critical Acceleration, Apollo and Shuttle Example



Teaching and learning methods

interactive lecture Slides, Presentation, Skript


The student has to solve various problems based on the lecture content in a written examination. The written exam consists of 20 to 30 short tasks that cover the entire course content. It includes both short questions and calculations. The division between the two question types is approximately 50%. The student has to demonstrate that he is able to understand all relevant influence factors on a space mission, as well as their complex relationships. He has to show that he is able to identify the resulting mission requirements and find applicable solutions based on rough calculations. A formulary will be provided during the test. Except for a non-programmable calculator otherwise no other aids are allowed.

Recommended literature

U. Walter, Astronautics, Wiley-VCH, ISBN 3-527-40685-9 Additional literature references can be found in the module script Online information