Preparation materials

The Space Flight Master track is offered to a range of graduates that are looking for an academic program that prepares them well for an exciting career in the international space sector covering Earth observation to planetary exploration, launch vehicles, satellites and constellations of satellites. The Space Flight Master track offers a common core program and two profiles (specializations): Space Engineering and Space Exploration. Students are required to select a specialization at the very beginning of the program. Please navigate to profile courses to see more information about the different profiles and their courses. 

Space Engineering

Space instrumentation – AE4880
Space instrumentation Engineering; design and performance

Thermal rocket propulsion – AE4S01
Fundamentals; ideal rocket motor; nozzle design; propellants and propellant properties; thermo-chemistry; heat transfer & cooling; cooling; combustor design; design of thin shell structures/chamber mass estimation; liquid propellant feeding and storage; motor controls & stop start (ignition)

Exercise thermal rocket propulsion – AE4S01P
Mechatronics design circle, sensors, actuators, power systems, information and control system; practical examples; demonstrations

Spacecraft mechatronics– AE4S06
Mechatronics design circle, sensors, actuators, power systems, information and control system; practical examples; demonstrations

Spacecraft mechatronics exercise – AE4S06P
Practical related to main course

Microsat engineering – AE4S10
Micro-satellite payload; navigation; communication; attitude control system; formation flying; micro-satellite technologies

Satellite thermal control – AE4S20
principles of heat transfer; methods and tools for thermal design; passive and active thermal control; contamination and degradation;  nodal models, testing and uncertainties; workshop at ADS Leiden

Space embedded systems – AE4S15

For more info, visit the course page in the Study Guide

Space Exploration

Propagation and optimization in astrodynamics – AE4866
Introduction software; numerical propagation; acceleration models; local optimization, constraints, robustness, optimal control; global optimization, multi-objective optimization; pre/post-processing

Numerical astrodynamics – AE4868
Orbit propagation/integration; Tudat (basics, architecture); basic elements of C++; numerical integration methods; integration errors

Rocket motion – AE4870A
Fundamentals; 2D motion of rocket in homogeneous gravity field, vacuum and atmosphere; vertical flight, constant pitch angle, gravity turn; multi-stage rocket; optimal mass distribution; ballistic flight in orbital plane; 3D flight; space plane trajectories; impact analysis and air launch; systems design

Re-entry systems – AE4870B
Fundamentals; environment and heating; ballistics; gliding; skip; gnc; planetary entry and descent; aerocapture and aerogravity assist; terminal area energy management; simulator; sensitivity; flight testing; vehicle design

Satellite orbit determination – AE4872

Reference systems; observations; refraction; GPS; Least-squares; Kalman filter; applications (orbit and time-variable gravity); practical with precise orbit determination software

Planetary sciences II – AE876-11
Planetary missions; atmospheric dynamics; magnetic fields; planetary rings; ocean dynamics and oceanography; comets; radiation and space weather; climates and tides; astrobiology

Mission geometry and orbit design – AE4878
Celestial mechanics fundamentals, geometry, coverage, error propagation, integrators,  Lambert problem, low-thrust orbits, optimization, design

Space instrumentation – AE4880
Space instrumentation engineering; design and performance

For more info, visit the course page in the Study Guide


Elective courses

Hypersonic aerodynamics -  AE4143
Hypersonic flows; viscous flows; boundary layers; interactions; heat transfer; radiation effects; high temperature effects; (non)equilibrium flows; reflated gas dynamics

Spacecraft attitude dynamics & control – AE4313P
Dynamics and control; quaternions; rigid body dynamics; attitude determination; active and passive attitude control; advanced control techniques

Spacecraft attitude dynamics & control exercise – AE313P
Practical related to main course

Aircraft performance optimization – AE4447
Foundations of unconstrained optimization; optimal control theory; open-loop and closed-loop control; variational approach; transversality; first integral; Pontryagin’s minimum principle; and many others

Numerical methods for aircraft performance analysis – AE4467

Application of numerical methods to solve complex optimal control problems

Space project (capita selecta) – AE4499

Preliminary (space mission design project) for students with a deficit in space engineering/exploration knowledge

Astrodynamics II – AE4874 II
Effectively all aspects of motion of spacecraft and celestial bodies (part II)

Introduction Thermal Rocket Propulsion – AE4S04
This course is an introduction to the course thermal rocket propulsion. This course is only open to MSc students with no prior experience in space propulsion in general and thermal rocket propulsion in particular.

NOTE 1: profile courses of one profile can also be selected as electives for the other profile.
NOTE 2: the list of electives is not complete: it only shows the courses most frequently selected. In principle, a student can select any contents-related course offered at TU Delft (or even at another university, e.g. Astronomy at Leiden). B. Zandbergen can provide a more detailed list for the Space Engineering profile.
NOTE 3: selection of elective courses to be done in consultation with theme supervisor only!

NOTE 4: check out the website for more information on the program, themes, MSc thesis projects, etcetera.

NOTE 5: students who want to do a thesis project on GNC, hypersonics, re-entry or DARE-related, must get an exemption of the Ministry of OCW.
NOTE 6: students in one of the space engineering themes must have their Master Track admission form signed by B. Zandbergen (profile coordinator) and R. Noomen (Track coordinator).

For more info, visit the course page in the Study Guide

Elective courses Space Engineering
Course code Course title EC Quarter
WM4010TU Scientific Writing 2 -
WM0201TU Eng. Technical writing 2 -
ME46005 Physics and Measurement 6 Q1/2
Design and engineering optimization (general design)
WI3425TU Monte Carlo Methods 3 Q2
CIE4130 Probabilistic Design 4 Q2
AE4205 MDO for Aerospace Applications 4 Q1
ME46060 Eng. Optimization: Concept & Applications 3 Q4
ID4010 Design Theory and Methodology 3 Q1
Electronics/Power/Computer engineering
ET4378 Photovoltaic systems 4 Q4
IN4391 Distributed Computing Systems 5 Q3
ME45100 Fuel-cell systems 3 Q4
AE4302 Avionics and Operations 3 Q1
AE4S06P Exercise spacecraft mechatronics 1 Q2
ET3604LR Electronic Circuits (BSc) 3 Q1
AP3181 D Applied Multiphase Flow 6 Q3/4
AP3222 D Nanotechnology 6 Q3/4
WB3135 Integrated Mechanical Systems (BSc) 6 Q3
Propulsion Engineering
ME45170 Turbomachinery 4 Q2
AE4206 Turbomachinery 3 Q2
AE4238 Aero Engine Technology 4 Q1/2
AE4202 CFD for Aerospace engineers 3 Q1
ME45165 Equipment for heat & mass transfer 5 Q3
AE4S01P Rocket Practical 2 Q3
Vehicle engineering
AE4313 Spacecraft attitude dynamics and control 3 Q3
AE4313P Practical (with above course) 1 Q3
AE4S20 Satellite thermal control 3 Q2/3
AE4499 Space project(capita selecta)* 4 Q1/2
AE4143 Hypersonic aerodynamics 3 Q2/3
AE4ASM003 Linear modelling (incl. FEM) 3 Q1
WB3168 Robot Mechanics (in Dutch only) 1 Q1
ME41020 Space robotics 4 Q3
ME41025 Robotics Practical 3 Q4
ADCS & Space Instrumentation
AE4313 Spacecraft attitude dynamics & control 3 Q3
AE4313P Spacecraft attitude dynamics & control exercise 1 Q3
ET3604LR Electronic circuits (BSc) 3 Q1
AE4S20 Satellite thermal control 3 Q1
AP3392 Geometrical optics 4 Q4
Elective courses Space Exploration

Favourable combinations of profile and elective courses for the various themes in the profile Space Exploration are given in the table below. Superscript “1” means “choose one out of three”, and superscript “2” means “choose one”.

Rockets, re-entry, GNC Precise Orbits Space Debris Transfer Orbits Planetary Expl. & Astr.
Prop. + optim. x x x
Numerical astrodynamics x x x x
Rocket motion x x
Re-entry systems x x x x
Satellite Orbit determination x x x x
Planetary sciences II x x
Mission geometry x x x x x
Space intrumentation x2
Thermal rocket propulsion x1
Spacecraft attitude, dynamic Control x1
Astrodynamics II x x x
Hypersonic aerodynamicsx x1
Relativity (at Univ. Leiden) x2
Physics: Earth and atmosphere x2
Advanced topics in analysis x2

For more information check the Study Guide

Study Guide