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Masters Degrees (Astronautics)

We have 3 Masters Degrees (Astronautics)

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The space sector contributes £13.7bn per annum to the UK economy alone, and space activity across Europe and the world continues to thrive. Read more

The space sector contributes £13.7bn per annum to the UK economy alone, and space activity across Europe and the world continues to thrive. There is a continuing need for talented employees with a good understanding of spacecraft systems engineering, coupled with a broad range of technical skills. Evolving constantly since 1987, this course has prepared graduates for highly successful careers in the space sector.

Who is it for?

Suitable for graduates in engineering, physics or mathematics, this course will prepare you for a career in this exciting field, from earth observation to planetary exploration, launch vehicles to spacecraft operations, and much more.

Why this course?

This Masters is highly respected around the world, and many of our students obtain employment/research offers in the space sector before the course finishes. We encourage interaction between our students and potential employers at events such as the Group Design Project industry presentation, dedicated interview days, and Alumni Conferences. In many space companies and agencies within Europe you will find our former graduates, some in very senior positions. Many of them continue to contribute to the course, forming a valuable network of contacts for those entering the industry and this course will equip you with the skills required to join them in a successful career in industry or research.

This course is also available on a part-time basis for individuals who wish to study whilst remaining in full-time employment. Cranfield University is well located for part-time students from all over the world, and offers a range of support services for off-site students. This enables students from around the world to complete this qualification whilst balancing work/life commitments.

Informed by Industry

The course is directed by an Industrial Advisory Panel comprising senior representatives from leading space and associated sectors. This group makes sure that the course content equips you with the skills and knowledge required by leading employers.

The Industrial Advisory Panel includes:

  • Mr Andrew Bradford, Director of Engineering, SSTL
  • Dr John Hobbs, ex-EADS Astrium
  • Dr Adam Baker, Newton Launch Systems Ltd
  • Mr Steve Eckersley, EADS Astrium
  • Mr Richard Lowe, Group Manager, EO Systems and Operations, Telespazio Vega.

Accreditation

The MSc in Astronautics & Space Engineering is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society (RAeS) on behalf of the Engineering Council as meeting the requirements of Further Learning for registration as a Chartered Engineer. Candidates must hold a CEng accredited BEng/BSc (Hons) undergraduate first degree to comply with full CEng registration requirements.

Course details

The taught programme for the Astronautics and Space Engineering masters is generally delivered from October to September. A range of core modules allows you to gain a firm grounding in space engineering before opting for specialist modules to build your knowledge in a certain area.

Group project

This is a space mission design study conducted in teams of 10-15 students. It typically takes place from September to April and is assessed by written reports and presentations. It emphasises space systems engineering methodologies, and is designed to prepare our graduates for the project-based working environment often found in space companies and agencies. The topics chosen for the project are strongly influenced by industry.

Recent Group projects have included:

  • Asteroid Sample Return
  • Titan Exploration Mission
  • European Data Relay Satellite System.

Our part-time students are encouraged to participate in a group project as it provides a wealth of learning opportunities. However, an option of an individual dissertation is available if agreed with the Course Director.

Watch a past presentation video to give you a taster of our innovative and exciting group projects (YouTube).

Individual project

The individual research project is the largest single component of the course typically taking place between April and August. It allows you to develop specialist skills in an area of your choice by taking the theory from the taught modules and joining it with practical experience. A list of suggested topics is provided, and includes projects proposed by academic staff and industry.

Recent Individual Research Projects have included:

  • Thermal Analysis of a Google Lunar X-Prize Rover
  • Cubesat Ground Station Implementation
  • Responsive Space and Concurrent Engineering
  • Space Suit Performance During Seat Ingress/Egress
  • Radar Data Simulation for Soil Moisture Estimation.

Part-time students are encouraged to participate in a group project as it provides a wealth of learning opportunities. However, an option of an individual dissertation is available if agreed with the Course Director.

Assessment

Taught modules 25%, Group project 30%, Individual research project 45%

Your career

Cranfield University is heavily supported by the space industry in the UK. Many of these companies provide case study lectures, concepts and thesis topics for the individual research projects, and some actively support the group design projects. They also provide a guide to the content of the course, so they are confident that Cranfield are training people with the industry skills employers require.

As a result, our graduates are regularly recruited by organisations including EADS Astrium, SSTL, Vega, ABSL, Tessella, OHB, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory and the European Space Agency in roles including Systems Engineer, Spacecraft Operations Engineer, Thermal Analyst and Space Robotics Engineer. We arrange company visits and interview days with key employers.

If your interests lie in research, many former students have gone on to pursue PhDs at Cranfield and other universities.



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Our MSc in Space Systems Engineering draws extensively on the expert knowledge of the Astronautics group using content from the professional courses we run for the European Space Agency and spacecraft industry. Read more

Our MSc in Space Systems Engineering draws extensively on the expert knowledge of the Astronautics group using content from the professional courses we run for the European Space Agency and spacecraft industry. Led by the authors of the best-selling book "Spacecraft Systems Engineering", the course uses an integrated approach to the complete design of a total space system and shows how the various component subsystems function and interface with each other. The course is endorsed by the UK Space Agency (UKSA).

Introducing your degree

This postgraduate masters course emphasises the key aspects of spacecraft systems engineering, focusing on systems engineering, key spacecraft sub-systems, mission analysis and spacecraft design. It will suit graduates or similarly qualified individuals from engineering, scientific and mathematical backgrounds, with some experience of astronautics or aerospace engineering and who are aiming for further specialisation in spacecraft engineering.

Overview

This one-year advanced course draws on the international expertise of our Astronautics Research Groupand content from the courses we run for the European Space Agency. The course provides an integrated approach to the design of a total space system and describes how the various component subsystems function and interface with one another, giving you advanced knowledge of space systems engineering.

The year is divided into two semesters. Each semester, you will have the option to undertake specialist space engineering modules; including spacecraft structural and engineering design and propulsion.

You will work under the guidance of world-class experts in this area and benefit from our cutting edge facilities, including an autonomous systems testbed and shaker table. You will engage in experimental study and complete a critical research project. We offer a range of potential projects, from spacecraft self-healing structures to creating your own moon orbiter.

View the specification document for this course



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