SPC 5011:  Human Space Systems Section IU

Summer Semester 2024


INSTRUCTOR:  Jeff Mitchell Sr. Lecturer FIT 321-223-0740.  Do not send texts.  All emails will be through Canvas, the email can be used when you can't use Canvas.


CLASS HOURS:   I will record the lecture and will send you an announcement that it is done.  The recording can be watched anytime.  Go to Canvas Panopto recordings to see the lecture.


TEXT: Human Spaceflight Mission Design and Analysis (McGraw Hill) by Wiley J. Larson and Linda K. Pranke (eds.).  2nd edition.

You can order the paperback at

You will have to create an account, then go to order your materials.  Select the term, Select Florida Tech graduate program, then scroll down for the book.

Supplemental notes will be provided on-line.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The course emphasizes the role of astronauts in space.  Topics covered include astronaut and cosmonaut achievements in space research, extravehicular activity, long-duration spaceflight and lunar exploration.  The space shuttle, space stations, future space habitats, lunar bases, tools, and expansion into heliocentric space will be covered. State of the art developments will be included through handouts from technical journals.


COURSE OBJECTIVES:  Provide an understanding of the fundamental principles and techniques used in the manned space systems.  The course will be broken down into three sections: a historical perspective, present day manned systems and possible near-term future developments.  Upon completing this course, the student will have an appreciation of the unique capabilities and requirements of manned space systems.


INSTRUCTION METHOD:  A combination of lecture notes, textbook and discussion of the material will be used.  Assignment will be issued, grades will be posted in Canvas with comments.  One exams will be given.


COURSE REQUIREMENTS:  A term paper project will be required. The topic is of the student’s choice but must be approved by the instructor.  A final exam will be given.  Students are required to take tests, and turn in homework solutions as scheduled.  A hand-held, scientific calculator is required for most homework and tests.  Availability of a Personal Computer with mathematics and spreadsheet software would help the student but is not required.  Working together on assignments is permitted as long as each student’s name who helped is listed on the solution.


Chat Sessions:  The chat sessions, if held, are also recorded.  Chat sessions have to be asked for by you, or I won’t have one unless it is needed.  I plan on having a chat during the week of the final, again if wanted.


Assignments will be assigned roughly every week, due the following week.  If you are on travel or otherwise can't be there, tell me as soon as you know.  You need to do the homework to pass the course.  I encourage you to work the assignments alone, then if you have a friend in class, compare.  Start your assignments early, that way you can ask questions early via email

I have some assignments rules in “Assignment Rules Canvas.pdf”  We will now go to that file.

The emphasis in a graduate course of study is self-directed research.  Not all of the homework problems may be solved by using the text book.  You may need to seek out answers from coworkers, computer databases or the internet.  Do not limit yourself to learning the minimum that is “required” to pass the class or to complete an assignment.  This is good time to rely on the expertise of others in your class and your chosen field.  Be curious, ask questions and be prepared to contribute in the classroom discussion when you have a solution.

The material should be read before class so that you have some idea of what I'm talking about and so that you can have questions already prepared from what you didn’t understand.


Corrections:  Any corrections will be on Canvas.  Tests or assignment grades should be brought to my attention as soon as possible.  In no event, should you expect a correction more than one week after the event.


GRADING POLICY: The course grade will be based on the following:


Homework 40%

Term Paper 30%

Final Exam 30%


Grading thresholds:  A = 90; B = 80; C = 70; D = 60; F < 60.

In order to avoid misunderstandings about the grade of "I", the following is provided.

1. The grade of "I" is only to be given for incomplete work because of circumstances beyond the student’s control. It is not intended to give additional time to students simply because they want more time to prepare for exams or complete projects. Also, the "I" grade presumes that the student’s work has been qualitatively satisfactory and there is reasonable expectation that completion of the remaining work will result in a passing grade.


2. The grade of "I" is not automatic. If a student is nearing the end of the semester and has not completed all course work due to illness, family emergency, or job-related travel, or misses the final exam for the above reasons, the student must make appropriate arrangements with the instructor. If the student does not provide this instructor with early, valid, and verifiable reasons for not completing course requirements in the prescribed time, a grade of "I" could be assigned by the instructor.


3. The remaining work must be completed within six weeks into the following semester. This means the make-up work is to be scheduled and completed as near as possible to the end of the semester involved.


4. The instructor retains the right to give extra self-study assignments pertaining to the subjects of the classes missed. This extra work will be given to ensure that the students have adequate opportunity to master the material covered in class.


Academic Honesty Definitions & Procedures:  Located in the student handbook at


Title IX Statement:  The university’s Title IX policy is available at

Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 is a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities.  Florida Institute of Technology policy also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex.

Florida Tech faculty are committed to helping create a safe learning environment for all students that is free from all forms of discrimination and sexual harassment, including sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. If you, or someone you know, have experienced or is experiencing any of these behaviors, know that help and support are available.

Florida Tech strongly encourages all members of the community to take action, seek support, and report any incident of sexual harassment or gender discrimination to Grace Gamage, Title IX Coordinator at 321-674-8885 or

Please note that as your professor, I am required to report any incidents to the Title IX Coordinator. 

If you wish to speak to an employee who does not have this reporting responsibility, please contact the Student Counseling Center at 321-674-8050.


Academic Accommodations:  Florida Tech is committed to equal opportunity for persons w/disabilities in the participation of activities operated/sponsored by the university. Therefore, students w/documented disabilities are entitled to reasonable educational accommodations. The Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR) supports students by assisting w/accommodations, providing recommended interventions, and engaging in case management services.  It is the student’s responsibility to make a request to OAR before any accommodations can be approved/implemented.  Also, students w/approved accommodations are encouraged to speak w/the course instructor to discuss any arrangements and/or concerns relating to their accommodations for the class. 

Office of Accessibility Resources (OAR):


Recording Disclosure (Privacy Waiver): This course may be recorded for use by students and/or faculty. Enrolled students are subject to having their images and voices recorded during the classroom presentations, remote access learning, online course discussions, and remote office hours/meetings. Course participants should have no expectation of privacy regarding their participation in this class.  Recordings may not be reproduced, shared with those not registered in the courses, or uploaded to other online environments.  All recordings will be deleted at the conclusion of the academic term.  


Week  Topic (Some reordering may occur if there are holidays.)


1      Course Overview, Intro to Human Spaceflight and  History, Chpt 1.


      Early Manned Programs- US and Soviet.


2       Present Day Operations: Shuttle, ISS.


      Submit Project Topic, Designing Human Space Missions, Chpt 2, 26, 28.


3       Space Environmental Hazards, Chpt 3-4.


          Spaceflight Physiology, and Human Factors, Chpt 5-6.


4       Psychology and Safety of Spaceflight, Chpt 7-8.


5       Designing and Sizing Elements, Chpt 11-12.


6       Surface Bases, Chpt 13.


           Rovers and In-situ Resources, Chpt 14-15.


7       Thermal Control and ECLSS, Chpt 16-17.


8      Structures, Chpt 21.


9   EVAs and Spacesuits, Chpt 22.


10     Robotics, Cost, Wrap-up and Review , Chpt 23, 29.


11    Final Examination no class, chat