The MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering is suitable for graduates in engineering, physics or mathematics, and will prepare you for a career in this exciting field, from earth observation to planetary exploration, launch vehicles to spacecraft operations, and much more. This course was established in 1987 to meet the requirement of the space industry for high quality engineers with relevant skills. The course has evolved since then as needs have changed, and we are constantly working to ensure our curriculum continues to prepare our graduates for highly successful careers in the space sector.
The space sector contributes £7.5bn 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.
This course was established in 1987 to meet the requirement of the space industry for high quality engineers with relevant skills. The course has evolved since then as needs have changed, and we are constantly working to ensure our curriculum continues to prepare our graduates for highly successful careers in the space sector.
The MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering is suitable for graduates in engineering, physics or mathematics, and will prepare you for a career in this exciting field, from earth observation to planetary exploration, launch vehicles to spacecraft operations, and much more.
English Language Requirements
If you are an international student you will need to provide evidence that you have achieved a satisfactory test result in an English qualification. The minimum standard expected from a number of accepted courses are as follows:
IELTS - 6.5
TOEFL - 92
Pearson PTE Academic - 65
Cambridge English Scale - 180
Cambridge English: Advanced - C
Cambridge English: Proficiency - C
In addition to these minimum scores you are also expected to achieve a balanced score across all elements of the test. We reserve the right to reject any test score if any one element of the test score is too low.
We can only accept tests taken within two years of your registration date (with the exception of Cambridge English tests which have no expiry date).
The MSc in Astronautics and Space Engineering consists of fifteen compulsory taught modules, two optional modules from a selection of seven, a group design project and an individual research project. The core modules build your understanding of space engineering before you select specialist modules.
In addition to management, communication, team work and research skills, each student will attain at least the following learning outcomes from this degree course:
- Demonstrate a systematic knowledge and critical evaluation of the key principles of the main spacecraft disciplines (propulsion, orbits, communications, structure, data handling, etc.) and be competent to analyse performance quantitatively.
- Demonstrate the ability to critically analyse systems engineering applied to space missions.
- Demonstrate a critical judgement of their specialist subject area(s) at a level appropriate to new recruits to the space industry such that they are able to contribute directly without significant further training.
- Demonstrate a systematic knowledge of the organisation of the space industry and typical space projects.
- Be able to apply their knowledge and understanding practically to the design and analysis of space systems.
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.
- Space Systems Engineering
- Astrodynamics and Mission Analysis
- Space Propulsion
- Space Communications
- Launch and Re-Entry Aerodynamics
- Environmental Control and Life Support Systems
- Modelling of Dynamic Systems
- Space Environment
- Payload Engineering and Instrumentation
- Earth Observation and the Environment
- Structural Mechanics
- Impact Dynamics and Spacecraft Protection
- Spacecraft Data Handling and Software Development
- Introduction to Spacecraft Operations
- Structural Dynamics
- Classical Control Engineering
- Multivariable Control for Aerospace Applications
- Sensors and Data Fusion
- GPS & INS
- Finite Element Methods
- Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control
- Design and Analysis of Composite Structures
The individual research project is the largest single component of the course 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 include:
- 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.
This is a space mission design study conducted in teams of 10-15 students. It 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 include:
- 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.
The taught modules (25%) are assessed by an examination and/or assignment.
The Group Project (30%) is assessed by a written technical report and oral presentations.
The Individual Research Project (45%) is assessed by a written thesis and oral presentation.
Cranfield University is heavily supported by the space industry in the UK. Many of these companies provide case study lectures, provide 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 also 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.
For further information
on this course, please visit our course webpage http://www.cranfield.ac.uk/courses/masters/astronautics-and-space-engineering.html
A first or second class UK Honours degree or equivalent, in mathematics, physics or an engineering discipline. In general our intake comes from both a physics and engineering background. Students from other sciences, mathematics, or computing backgrounds are welcome to apply and we will consider applications on a case by case basis.