Space Systems

Space Systems

Program Description

The Graduate Space Systems (GSS) program is designed to provide officers with a broad knowledge of space systems engineering and space science. Education in the fundamentals of these areas will increase military officer’s effectiveness in planning, executing, and evaluating space systems and operations. Each student completes a research thesis on some aspect of space systems (engineering, science, or operations). The Space Systems graduate is ready to participate actively in organizations responsible for the selection, planning, management, operation, and evaluation of space systems for the DoD. Most graduates will receive a Master of Science (Space Systems); however, students with adequate background may pursue an alternate degree as long as the GSS requirements detailed below are satisfied. Please see the Department Blue Book for further details.

Admissions Requirements

Bachelor's Degree Required: Degree in any engineering discipline, systems engineering, science, or mathematics.

Undergraduate Mathematics Course Required: Calculus, Ordinary Differential Equations

Test Required: GRE - 153V/148Q (within the last five years)

GPA Required: Overall - 3.0; Mathematics - 3.0; Major - 3.0

*Waivers to the above criteria are sometimes granted, and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  Individuals whose academic credentials fall below any of the above criteria but feel they should be given additional consideration due to other potential qualifying factors are encouraged to apply.  Please contact the Center at 937-255-6565 x4753 for additional information.

Military personnel, international officers, and civilians who apply to AFIT for full-time graduate study under the sponsorship (full pay and allowances) of a military service or Government organization, but fail to meet the criteria above may be admitted by the faculty in the appropriate department.  Please refer to AFIT’s Master’s Degree Eligibility for additional information.

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Outcomes & Objectives

Program Educational Objectives (PEOs)

  • Make direct contributions to the area of space systems engineering and space science as a practicing engineer

  • Successfully evaluate, monitor, and administer space systems research and development projects

  • Use their AFIT education to approach and solve new technological challenges to meet the needs of the Department of Defense

Program Outcomes (POs)

  • Space Programs: Be knowledgeable about current and past US and international space programs. Understand the objectives of these programs and how they fit into military operations. Understand the basic technical means through which these objectives are achieved

  • Spaceflight Dynamics: Understand the physics of orbital mechanics and what impact it has on orbital mission operations. Be able to calculate orbital maneuvers and understand the basics of orbit control in the presence of perturbations. Understand the basics of torque-free spacecraft attitude dynamics

  • Satellite Communications: Understand modern communication principles with particular emphasis on applications to satellite and space communication systems including modulation, signals, multiplexing, demodulation, multiple access, coding, look angles, satellite hardware, earth station hardware, and link analysis

  • Space Environment: Understand the physics of radiation, particles, and general conditions encountered in space. Understand spacecraft thermal equilibrium, orbit decay, spacecraft charging, space-to-ground communications, atmospheric chemistry, Van Allen belts, and solar phenomena

  • Remote Sensing: Attain understanding of the remote sensing process with an emphasis on visible light and infrared systems. Understand the physics of interaction of light with matter, atmospheric absorption and scattering, radiometry, optical systems, spectral and spatial resolution and imaging, and electro-optical detectors

  • Spacecraft Engineering: Be knowledgeable of the design issues related to complex space systems. Understand the key elements and subsystems of important classes of space systems. Gain experience with the systematic approach necessary to effectively design space systems through a group design process

Program Chair

Dr. Richard G. Cobb

Degree Information

Degree Type: Master's

Delivery Method: In-Residence

Degree Requirements

  • Core Space systems (20 hours)
  • Mathematics (4 hours)
  • Specialty sequences (12 hours)
  • Thesis (12 hours)

Graduate School Catalog

Faculty Research Areas

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Air Force Institute of Technology
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH 45433-7765
Commercial: 937-255-6565 | DSN: 785-6565