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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Uri Shumlak
A A 529
Seattle Campus

Space Propulsion

Nucleonics, and heat transfer of nuclear-heated rockets. Electrothermal, electromagnetic, and electrostatic thrusters. Power/propulsion systems. Prerequisite: permission. Offered: Sp, odd years.

Class description

Rocket propulsion; Comparison of chemical, electrical, and nuclear thrusters for space propulsion; Fundamentals of chemical thermodynamics, plasma physics, and nucleonics; Physical descriptions of electrothermal, electromagnetic, and electromagnetic thrusters; Physical description of advanced space propulsion concepts based on fusion and fission energy. The course is designed to be self-contained but a basic understanding of thermodynamics, fluids, and differential equations is expected.

Student learning goals

Students will know the available systems for space propulsion, including cold-gas, chemical, electrothermal, electrostatic, and electromagnetic.

Students will know future propulsion systems based on fusion energy.

Students will understand the operation, acceleration mechanism, and thrust generation of space thruster devices, and they will be able to analyze the propellant flow and energy conversion efficiency of the various electric thruster devices.

Students will be able to select of mission appropriate electric plasma thrusters.

Students will be able to explain the basic principles of magnetic and inertial confinement fusion.

Students will understand the various magnetic confinement configurations that would be appropriate for space propulsion.

General method of instruction

lectures, homework assignments, exams

Recommended preparation

The course is designed to be self-contained but a basic understanding of thermodynamics, fluids, and differential equations is expected.

Class assignments and grading

problem sets

homework assignments 30%, midterm exam 30%, final exam 40%


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
AA529 Course Web Page
Last Update by Uri Shumlak
Date: 03/19/2009