ECE 3154 Space Systems - Design and Validation | ECE | Virginia Tech

Undergraduate PROGRAMS

Course Information


Introduction to systems and techniques used in electrical engineering design for space-based applications. Students design, fabricate, and test an electronic system following accepted NASA and industry standards, including functional bench-top tests, thermal testing, vibration testing, and long-duration operational testing. Periodic formal reports will document design approaches and test results.

Why take this course?

This course provides a lab experience to augment ECE 3104 ?? Introduction to Space Systems and Technologies. It provides classroom exposure and closely related laboratory exercises designed to enable students to apply the design techniques used in ECE 3104. Classroom and laboratory exercises establish familiarity with instrumentation and testing approaches utilized in industry for validating spaceflight system designs. The course applies the principles of circuit analysis and electromagnetic fields that are learned in ECE3105 ?? Electromagnetic Fields and its sophomore level prerequisites.

Learning Objectives

  • ? Evaluate unique constraints on electronic design imposed by the need to operate in the space environment.
  • ? Use computer-aided design tools to design and build structures and electronic circuit boards for laboratory validation.
  • ? Design and fabricate electronic systems capable of surviving launch-related stresses and functioning in the vacuum, radiation, and thermal environment of near-Earth space.
  • ? Perform laboratory testing, analysis, and interpretation of test results from space-simulation (e.g., vacuum) environments.

Course Topics


Percentage of Course

Operational constraints imposed by the space environment 10%
Circuit simulation software for design of operational systems ? Simulation software tools ? Eagle circuit layout techniques ? Creating files for fabrication of circuit boards 25%
System design and fabrication techniques for space-based operation ? Using Eagle to lay out multi-layer circuit boards ? Routing traces to minimize inductive and capacitive coupling ? Adding parts to the library 30%
Laboratory testing of fabricated systems (e.g., vacuum, thermal) 15%
Analysis and interpretation of laboratory measurements ? Determining effects of thermal variations ? Inspecting solder joints and parts integrity ? De-rating performance 20%