Spacecraft Systems Engineering – Short Course

The Spacecraft Systems Engineering course gives a broad overview of spacecraft engineering and its applications. It will provide the attendee with a good understanding of the engineering challenges and processes required to develop a modern space mission and associated systems. The course will cover the main aspects of a space mission lifecycle from requirements development to spacecraft and ground system design, assembly integration and test, and in-orbit operations.

This three-day course, delivered at the University of Auckland city campus, will provide attendees the opportunity to visit our world class facilities such as the Spacecraft Assembly cleanrooms, National Satellite Test Facilities and Mission Operations Control Centre to gain practical insights into topics presented during the course.  We are also able to conduct the course at customer’s premise upon request. Our instructors, experts with extensive experience in spacecraft engineering will create an exceptional learning environment from interactive programme of lectures to tasks and practical demonstrations, providing a beneficial experience to all participants.

Target Audience

This course is aimed at professionals new to the space sector, government agencies, and those already working in the space industry who want to broaden their understanding of space technologies and applications. It is suitable for people from a range of backgrounds; technical to industry professionals, management and administration services.

To cater for the different backgrounds of the attendees, we are offering two sessions/versions per year.

Spacecraft Systems Engineering (BASIC)

18, 19 & 20 September 2024

Tailored for administrative and management professionals without a scientific, STEM, technical type of background, enabling everyone to engage with the material presented at their own level of expertise, gaining understanding of space systems and applications.

Spacecraft Systems Engineering

March 2025 (TBC)

This course is designed for participants with some scientific, technical, or engineering background who want to gain a better understanding of space systems, technologies and their applications

Course Fee

$2,500.00 per pax plus GST

Please indicate in your email inquiry which session (March or September) you are interested in.

Course Overview


  • Overview of space and space applications
  • Introduction to orbits
  • Space Environment
  • Spacecraft engineering in the “New Space” era
  • Project lifecycle
  • Concept of Operations (CONOPS)

Spacecraft System Engineering

  • Spacecraft system architecture
  • Redundancy Reliability and FDIR
  • System Budgets

Spacecraft Subsystems

  • On Board Data Handling (OBDH)
  • Communications / Telemetry Tracking and Command (TT&C)
  • Power
  • Attitude and Orbit Control System (AOCS)
  • Propulsion
  • Structure / thermal

AIT and Launch

  • Overview
  • AIT/AIV flow
  • Environmental test descriptions
  • Launch Operations

Spacecraft Operations

  • Ground systems architecture
  • Spacecraft Operations

Course Tutors

Professor G Aglietti

Director of the Space Institute, Te Pūnaha Ātea, University of Auckland, NZ

Professor G Aglietti has over 30 years’ experience in the space engineering, ranging from industrial work (mechanical design, analysis, and testing, of a range of structures from modules for the ISS, to payloads for the space shuttle, to subsystems & satellites with the companies SSTL & AIRBUS) to research and teaching in aerospace subjects. As director of the Surrey Space Centre, he led the centre’s R&D, knowledge transfer programmes, and pioneering satellite missions like RemoveDebris.

Professor Roberto Armellin

Within Te Pūnaha Ātea, Dr Roberto Armellin, is a Professor of Astrodynamics. He received hisMaster and PhD degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Politecnico di Milano in 2003 and 2007, respectively. He is an expert in orbit determination, uncertainty propagation, and space trajectory optimization. His research work is mainly focused on enabling safe and sustainable use of space and designing complex transfer trajectories. Before joining the institute has been an academic in four higher education institutions across Europe and partner and co-founder of Dinamica Srl (2008-2018).

Chris Jackson

Chris leads the mission operations team at TPA-SI and has over 30 years’ experience working across a wide range of disciplines within the space industry. Prior to joining TPA-SI, Chris was Chief Engineer at one of the world’s leading small satellite manufacturers in the UK where he was responsible for leading developments on a wide range of space missions including Earth Observation constellations in Low Earth orbit, Navigation missions in Medium Earth orbit, and Geostationary telecommunications satellites.

Vernon Lewis

Vernon has over 20 years’ experience in the Space industry. He was lead mission software engineer and developed the flight software for six satellites covering Earth Observation, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and Technology Demonstration missions. He developed embedded software for a wide range of flight equipment, including Power, RF and AOCS sub-systems. Vernon has also worked as a Team Leader, Systems Engineer, AOCS Engineer and Spacecraft Operator with the responsibility for recovering operational satellites outside office hours. He has a PhD in Physics from Bangor University, Wales.

Dr Ben Taylor

Dr. Ben Taylor leads the mission and spacecraft system development team at TPA-SI. Whilst working at UK organisations he has delivered a series of successful missions and flight systems for the public and private sectors including for the UK Space Agency (UKSA) and European Commission (EC). He holds a PhD from the University of Surrey in Space Environment and Effects.

Dr Sha Luo

Dr. Sha Luo received her B.Eng and Ph.D degrees in school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Nanyang Technological University. From 2011 to 2022, she was a lecturer, later became senior lecturer, at National University of Singapore (NUS). In NUS, she was a team leader to develop and implement the Aerospace Systems Initiative (ASI) education curriculum. She also led a research team developing CubeSats, and the team successfully launched the first NUS CubeSat, Galassia, in December 2015. She has more than 10-year experiences in space education and project developments.

Dr Laura Pirovano

Dr. Laura Pirovano is a Research Fellow at TPA-SI, where she focuses her research on space situational awareness and space traffic management to ensure a safe, stable, and secure use of space in the long term. She holds a BSc in Mathematical Engineering from Politecnico di Milano, an MSc in Aerospace Engineering from TU Delft, and a PhD from the University of Surrey. She recently assumed the role of lecturer for the space-related part of the “Aerospace System Design” course for the Master in Aerospace at TPA-SI.

Dr Thomas Dowling

Dr. Thomas Dowling is a remote sensing specialist, focusing on the environmental challenges in the maritime. He started in Physical Geography at Durham (UK), then to a Masters in Environmental Science at Cambridge (UK). Since finishing a PhD in glaciology (Lund, Sweden) he worked in commercial geospatial intelligence, before moving back into academia with a focus on the validation & application of remotely sensed data (land surface temperature) at King’s College London . After KCL he continued work with the UK’s National Centre for Earth Observation and UNEP – World Conservation Monitoring Centre, before taking up the post of lecturer at the University of Auckland.

Feedback From Participants

Attendees from our previous sessions include The University of Canterbury, MBIE, New Zealand Space Agency, Tawhaki Joint Venture, NOVA Systems NZ Limited, NZDF, Uniservices, Rocket Lab, Auckland Unlimited, Emrod and ABI.

Some of the comments/feedback received:

  • “Excellent”
  • “Really enjoyed content, interaction with course tutors, discussions with other attendees”
  • “Provided good overview of space operations from many perspectives”
  • “Would recommend to both new to the sector & those wanting detail”
  • “The course gave me an excellent, broad understanding of space systems engineering that compliments my existing background …”


For queries or to book a place in the course, please email Laila or submit your details below:

Please indicate in your email inquiry which session (March or September) you are interested in.