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Development Of A Spacecraft Detail Design Course – Incorporating Design, Build, Integration, And Test

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

Design And Manufacturing Experiences I

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.444.1 - 9.444.9

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Paper Authors

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Jim Lyall

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Rachel Shinn

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 1125

Development of a Spacecraft Detail Design Course – Incorporating Design, Build, Integration and Test

Dr. Rachel Shinn, Dr. James Lyall

Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Prescott, AZ


With a few notable exceptions, spacecraft are never composed of a single subsystem. Typically, they comprise multiple subsystems that interact with each other. For example, it is very common for even small satellites to include power, communications, attitude, structure and payload subsystems, interacting to make up the entire system. The one-semester detail design course is a follow on course to a one-semester preliminary design course. Together, they constitute the program capstone design component. In detail design the principles of design are taught and applied to the multiple subsystems and integration required for spacecraft. This requires consideration of the practical requirements and constraints typically required for spacecraft. It is important to note that the design course employs the entire class as a single team, and that the final result of the course is a design and tested prototype of an integrated spacecraft model.

The objectives of the Spacecraft Detail Design course are to 1) teach the detailed design process, including analysis leading to configuration managed specification drawings, assembly drawings, requirements and test plans; 2) teach the students to integrate multiple subsystems into a system design; 3) give the students the experience of building their design as a prototype and 4) complete the design process by having the students test their prototype against the design requirements.

This paper outlines the way in which these objectives are being met and the pedagogical tools that have been developed in the process.

I. Introduction

Design, build, fly has been done in both the spacecraft and the aircraft arena. Typically, this is done over multiple semesters. We complete this cycle in a single semester. Some schools that have design, build, fly programs are MIT1, Purdue2, and USAFA3. At Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, we have a two-semester design sequence with the first semester being a

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ÆÉ 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Lyall, J., & Shinn, R. (2004, June), Development Of A Spacecraft Detail Design Course – Incorporating Design, Build, Integration, And Test Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

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