Space Mission Operations

This course introduces the space mission development from the space operators point-of-view. Often ignored until later in the development cycle, this mission operator perspective allows the development of a cost effective mission across all mission elements. Lessons explore the challenge of designing and implementing space mission operations in a practical, cost-effective way in the real world. Taking a functional approach, the course provides an in-depth view of the entirety of space mission operations, including the concept of operations and all functions that are performed in support of a space mission. Discussions focus on initial requirements definition, operations concept development, functional allocation among spacecraft, payload, ground system and operators. Students get extensive hands-on experience with a variety of mission operations modelling tools to understand physical constraints and appreciate the impact of programmatic trade-offs. Case studies of ongoing NASA, DoD and commercial missions are examined.

Course Objectives

At the end of this course the student should be able to:

  • Define and explain the critical activities of space mission operations
  • Develop a mission concept of operations (ConOps) and be able to critically analyse one of these key documents
  • Describe the elements that contribute to mission operations complexity and perform trade-off analyses to reduce that complexity
  • Apply principles of orbital mechanics to plan and implement key operations activities
  • Describe and analyze key elements of mission ground systems including communication link budgets
  • Compare and contrast operations concepts for military, civil, scientific and human space missions
  • Develop the planning, execution and support requirements for real-time space mission operations

Course Topics

  • Mission Operations Overview
  • Operations Planning
  • Tracking and Navigation
  • Mission Data Receipt and Delivery
  • Spacecraft Support and Analysis
  • Flight Control and Training

Unique Features of Online Course

  • 18 guided lectures – presented by several of TSTI’s award winning instructors; the equivalent of a semester-long course
  • Continuous feedback on your progress through lesson review questions and quizzes
  • Explore each topic in-depth via exercises and case studies using missions operations modelling tools to apply what you’ve learned each step of the way
  • 100% self-paced – you have up to 6 months to complete the course on your own time when it is convenient

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