TU Delft
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2015/2016 Aerospace Engineering Master Aerospace Engineering
Space Instrumentation
Responsible Instructor
Name E-mail
Dr.ir. J.M. Kuiper    J.M.Kuiper@tudelft.nl
Contact Hours / Week x/x/x/x
Education Period
Start Education
Exam Period
Course Language
The course is organised from two perspectives: one is the space instrumentation engineering:

Sensor physics, anatomy and system design requirements
Classes of instruments
Geometrical optics
Optical design and performance
Optical components
Opto-mechanical design
Detection subsystems
Radiometric performance analysis
Spectral performance analysis
Structural instrument design
On-ground characterization and calibration
Cryogenic design
Cleanliness and contamination control
Manufacturing, assembly, alignment, test
Instrument sizing

The other line is the design and performance of different classes of instruments.

Optical imagers
Miniature instruments
Course Contents
Space instrumentation is a discipline aimed at creating state of-the-art sensors capable of measuring the environments
of the Earth, the planets and their satellites, the Sun, and
interplanetary space. This course surveys the physical principles and engineering of instrumentation used throughout the many related fields of space science. Upon completion of the course the students will have a firm grasp of the principles and techniques used to sense and measure photons. The course focuses on the design and engineering process of electro-optical space instruments, starting from the design requirement up till the on-ground functional and
performance testing and calibration.
Study Goals
After the course the student should be able:
To list the candidate measurement techniques for given observation requirements
To list and describe for each type of instrument:
o The specific applications and their importance
o The various elements that make up an instrument and their main function(s)
o The different options that exist to perform this function
o The important performance parameters
To explain how the performance requirements translate into design parameters and operational scenarios
To perform instrument engineering to a level of detail, sufficient to accomplish a feasible concept for the instrument (i.e. conceptual definition and justification of its optical-thermal-mechanical-electrical and detector design including budgeting, sizing and sampling)
To indicate and justify the design drivers
To give the rationale for the critical engineering aspects (e.g. alignment accuracy, straylight, stability, sensitivity to contamination or radiation, testability, manufacturability)
To set up an elementary instrument simulator to predict instrument performance and sensitivities to variations and error sources
To draft an on-ground test flow
To draft a concept for in-orbit calibration
To determine interface requirements on the hosting platform, the orbit and its operation
To give an outlook for future developments and applications
Education Method
Lectures, partly given by professionals from space industry,complemented by student presentations in small groups.
Assignments, the analysis of an article by students in small groups and studied by other students as homework on an individual basis. Both the assignments, presentations and homework are part of the formal close-out of the course, in combination with a written exam.
Literature and Study Materials
Lecture Notes ae4-880 Space Instrumentation Engineering
Practical Guide
The Blackboard site AE4880 contains an abundance of information about the course, the content, as well as enrichment data, with links to supporting websites
3 Elements: A) Written exam + B) Assignment: article analysis + presentation. If the mark for the exam is 5.0 or higher, the final grade is the weighted average of 75 % * mark A + 25 % mark B
Permitted Materials during Tests
The exam is an open-book exam. The student should bring to the exam his Lecture Notes, including the personal notes he made at the lectures. He is allowed to also bring prints of the lecture or student presentation slides. He is NOT allowed to bring the exercises, assignments or homework problems, nor their answers, nor previous exams.
Enrolment / Application
Students have to enroll in the first course week or via the Blackboard site of the course.
Each student is allocated to one category of instruments. The attendance of the student presentation about his the instrument category he belongs to, is obligatory.
The course is organised in two learning lines: one is the space instrumentation engineering that is lectured by the lecturer or guest lecturers. The other line is the design of different classes of instruments. This part is provided by the students in the form of a presentation, development of an assignment and practicing homework problems.