AOSS 101 - Rocket Science
Section: 001
Term: WN 2009
Subject: Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences (AOSS)
Department: CoE Climate and Space
Requirements & Distribution:
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

An introduction to the science of space and space exploration. Topics covered include history of spaceflight, rockets, orbits, the space environment, satellites, remote sensing, and the future human presence in space. The mathematics will be at the level of algebra and trigonometry.

Course Objectives:

  • Introduce students to the science of space exploration and the space environment.
  • In this context, increase their familiarity with scientific methods of analyzing systems and solving problems.
  • Lead the students to understand and appreciate the excitement of space exploration and understanding the space environment

Course Outcomes:

  • General, qualitative familiarity by the students with the science of space exploration and the space environment.
  • In this context, increased familiarity with scientific methods of analyzing systems and solving problems.
  • The broad education necessary to understand the impact of science and technology in a societal context
  • Improved ability to engage in life-long learning about science and engineering
  • Greater knowledge of contemporary issues relating to space exploration and the space environment


  • Week la: History
    • History of Spaceflight
  • Week lb: Propulsion
    • Basics of Propdsion
    • Reaction Engines
    • Advanced propulsion systems
  • Week 2a: Orbits
    • Types of orbits
    • Orbital Maneuvering
  • Week 2b: Space Environment I
    • The Sun
    • The solar wind
    • Solar explosions
  • Week 3a: Space Environment II
    • The Earth
    • Magnetosphere
    • Radiation Belts
    • Ionosphere
  • Week 3b: Space Environment III
    • Space Weather
    • Coronal mass ejections
    • Proton events
    • Geomagnetic storms
  • Week 4a: Satellites
    • Types of satellite orbits
    • Satellite functions
  • Week 4b: Remote sensing
    • Electromagnetic radiation
    • Spectral bands and resolution
    • Types of remote sensing
  • Week 5a: Exploring the solar system
    • Moon
    • Mars
    • Other planets
  • Week 5b: Astronomy from space
    • Hubble Space Telescope
    • Chandra X-ray observatory
    • Other systems
  • Week 6a: Space vehicles
    • Older rockets
    • Space shuttle
    • Spaceship One
    • The Future
  • Week 6b: Living and working in space
    • The environment.
    • Gravity and weightlessness
    • The technology of working in space
    • The dangers
  • Week 7a: Space stations and space colonies
    • Long-term survival in space
    • Long-term survival on planets
  • Week 7b: Is there life out there?
    • Fundamentals for Life
    • The Drake equation

Assessment Tools:

  • Regular homework problems
  • Exams


  • Introduction to Space: The Science of Spaceflight,
    Author: Thomas D. Damon Publisher: Kriegler Publishing Company Third Edition, 2001
    ISBN: 0-89464-065-8

AOSS 101 - Rocket Science
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 0894640658
Introduction to space : the science of spaceflight, Author: by Thomas D. Damon; with forew, Publisher: Krieger 3rd ed. 2001
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