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United States Naval Academy Space Systems Laboratory Course

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.568.1 - 4.568.13

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Paper Authors

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Robert E. Bruninga

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Dave D. Myre

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

Session 2302

United States Naval Academy Space Systems Laboratory Course

LCDR Dave D. Myre, USN, CDR Robert E. Bruninga, USN (Ret.) Department of Aerospace Engineering United States Naval Academy

I. Introduction

The Astronautics track at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) is one of two tracks offered in the Aerospace Engineering Department leading to the award of a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. In a recent curriculum revision, a new laboratory course was added to the Astronautics program. This was motivated by the need for practical laboratories and advanced computer simulations and by the unique USNA capability to receive and display engineering telemetry from a Navy UHF communications satellite as well as several amateur radio satellites via the Naval Academy Satellite Ground Station. This paper highlights practical laboratories developed and showcases the classroom application of the Satellite Ground Station. The Space Systems Laboratory provides student interaction with each major spacecraft subsystem with the focus on the space segment. It uses of practical laboratory exercises, computer simulation and live spacecraft data to focus on subsystem dynamics and system level interactions. The course also provides advanced instruction in computer simulations culminating in short design projects in support of the spacecraft design course. The course is organized such that each spacecraft subsystem has its own lab module that consists of the following: (1) pre-laboratory preparation and exercises, (2) practical “hands-on” laboratories and (3) continued demonstration of concepts via the electronic classroom.

II. Practical Laboratories

The practical laboratories were developed and conducted in the fall of 1997 and 1998. There are three primary areas explored in the laboratories: (1) Communications, (2) Electronic Power Systems and (3) Thermal Control. Emphasis is placed on communications systems, as this is one of the Navy’s primary space mission areas. The other laboratories discussed are the spacecraft electronic power system laboratory with emphasis on solar panels, energy storage and regulation, two thermal control laboratories conducted with emphasis on radiation heat transfer and surface coatings, and a simple structural dynamics (vibration) laboratory.

Bruninga, R. E., & Myre, D. D. (1999, June), United States Naval Academy Space Systems Laboratory Course Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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