PHYC40660 The Space Environment

Academic Year 2022/2023

Students are given an overview of the space environment, including the vacuum environment; the neutral environment; the plasma environment; the radiation environment; and the micrometeoroid/orbital debris environment. The distinguishing characteristics of different satellite orbits and their uses for a range of space-based applications (e.g. Earth observation and astrophysics) are developed. The essentials of spacecraft subsystems engineering, including rocket propulsion, are discussed.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this course, the student should be able to:
- construct suitable geocentric orbits for various satellite applications;
- compare and contrast space environments of such geocentric orbits;
- identify the main effects of the space environment on satellites, and outline mitigation strategies;
- describe the critical elements of spacecraft subsystems engineering;
- apply fundamental physical principles to rocket propulsion.

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Seminar (or Webinar)


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Content will be delivered through a combination of lectures and assignments. The module will be taught by a number of lecturers, with specializations in the different topics covered. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.

Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade
Examination: Exam 2 hour End of Trimester Exam No Standard conversion grade scale 40% Yes


Continuous Assessment: Continuous Assessment Throughout the Trimester n/a Standard conversion grade scale 40% Yes


Carry forward of passed components
Remediation Type Remediation Timing
In-Module Resit Prior to relevant Programme Exam Board
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment
• Group/class feedback, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Dr Morgan Fraser Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Professor Lorraine Hanlon Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Antonio Martin Carrillo Lecturer / Co-Lecturer