Launch Vehicle and Spacecraft Environments and Loads

Approximately 18 hours (Scheduled as desired)

Instructor: Jim Haughton P.E. |

Course Overview

This course equips you to tackle the critical challenge of environmental loads in spacecraft design. Learn how to estimate, analyze, and translate these loads into actionable specifications for testing and verification. The course is ideal for new or experienced engineers, product development leads (PDLs), systems engineers, and program managers wishing to round out their understanding of how spacecraft environments and resulting requirements can impact program risk.


  • Reduce program risk
  • Optimize spacecraft design
  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of environmental impact

Course Includes:

  • Downloadable Slides
  • Hyperlinked reference materials
  • 18 Personal Development hours & certificate (upon completion)

Course Outline

1. Introduction & Outline

2. Environmental Loads and Sources

Overview of all processing and flight events that have the possibility of producing significant environmental loads for either the launch vehicle, spacecraft, subsystems or components.

3. Spacecraft Environmental Test Criteria & Standards

Detailed discussion of Military, NASA, European Space Agency and Launch Vehicle Standards and documentation.

4. Thermal Environments

Explains sources of thermal loads during ground operations,launch, ascent, and on-orbit along with thermal model temperature predictions, test levels, and methods.

5. Pressure Venting Environments

Discusses the handling of pressure decay during ascent, an overview of pressure differential analysis and discussion of pressure profile testing.

6. Acoustic Environments

Details sources of acoustic loads, flight data measurement and processing, derivation of test levels and durations, and test methods and facilities.

7. Acceleration Loads & Environments

Sources of acceleration loads are discussed along with data measurement and processing, derivation of test levels, test methods, and facilities.

8. Vibration Environments

Vibration load sources are discussed along with flight data measurement & processing, derivation of component and system test specifications, test methods and facilities.

9. Shock Environments

Explain sources of shock loads, along with flight data measurement and processing, derivation of test levels, assessment of shock severity and component sensitivity, test methods and facilities.


Discussion of Environments & Testing based on Mil- Std-461,462, 463 & 464.

11. Additional Considerations

Conservatism vs. cost considerations, schedule, organizational interactions. Templates for Environmental Requirements Documents & Test Documents.

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