Science Mission & Systems: Design & Operations (APPEL-SMSDO)

Select a Category


This course provides an integrated view of space science mission design and operations from conceptual design and requirements definition, through spacecraft design, development, and test, to development of mission operations concepts and ground infrastructure capabilities.

This course is designed for NASA’s technical workforce, including engineers, systems engineers, and project personnel involved in creating overall mission architectures, detailed designs, and the operation of systems.

Common Competencies
  • C 1.1 - Agency Structure, Mission, and Internal Goals
Systems Engineering Competencies
  • SE 1.3 - Logical Decomposition
  • SE 1.4 - Design Solution Definition
  • SE 2.2 - Product Integration

Click here to view full competency model.

APPEL Library Resources

NASA Galaxie LibraryNASA Galaxie LibraryBooks 24x7 LibraryBooks 24x7 Library
All supplemental resources are NASA accessible only unless otherwise noted.

Upon completion of this course, participants will be able to:

  • Define the components and systems of a robotic space mission.
  • Describe an integrated view of space science mission design and operations.
  • Describe the interrelationships between systems design and mission operations.
  • Describe a process-oriented approach for creating cost-effective space missions.
  • Apply effective methodologies for translating space mission objectives, requirements, and designs into viable and economical operations concepts.
  • Demonstrate practical, detailed ideas and tools to analyze and design space segment support for unmanned missions, including architecture and configuration, payloads, and vehicle subsystems.



Registration Question? Contact the training specialist below for assistance.

Sabrina Paul
(321) 861-1526

Click here to watch a video tutorial of the APPEL Course Registration Process.



Dr. Wiley Larson is managing editor of McGraw-Hill’s Space Technology Series and editor and co-author of Space Mission Analysis and Design, co-editor of Applied Space Systems Engineering and 18 other reference books on space systems. He is a Distinguished Service Professor for the Space Systems Engineering Master's program at the Stevens Institute of Technology and was former director of SpaceTech’s Masters Program in Space Systems Engineering at Delft Technical University in The Netherlands. He has also served as Head of Engineering at the International Space University in Strasbourg, France, and has over 30 years experience in space launch, satellite integration and test, space mission design. He has consulted with numerous government and industry organizations and taught thousands of people globally. Wiley is an elected member of the International Academy of Astronautics.
Dr. Randy Liefer is a Associate Fellow of AIAA with over 30 years of aerospace engineering experience. He has earned advanced degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Kansas. He has served as Division Chief and Deputy Head of the Department of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and has been a member of the AIAA Space Systems Technical Committee. He is currently a lecturer at European SpaceTech Masters Program in Space Systems Engineering; an instructor at the Air Force’s National Security Space Institute; and is an adjunct professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology.
Dr. Jerry Jon Sellers, is author of Understanding Space: An Introduction to Astronautics, and is a contributing author and editor of Applied Space Systems Engineering. He was the director of the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Space Systems Research Center. He has over 25 years of space systems experience including Guidance & On-board Navigation Officer in Space Shuttle Mission Control; Assistant Professor of Astronautics at the U.S. Air Force Academy; and Chief of Astronautics for the Air Force European Office of Aerospace Research & Development. He is an Associate Fellow at AIAA and the former Chairman of the Space Systems Technical Committee. He is also an adjunct professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.
Peter Van Wirt develops/instructs courses in space systems engineering and consults to help improve SE capabilities. He is an Adjunct Professor with The Stevens Institute of Technology and instructs at the National Security Space Institute. He has served as a PM&SE for a variety of Air Force engineering developments and has over 29 years of aerospace engineering experience. He earned his doctorate at the Utah State in Control Theory.


Curriculum Question? Contact the curriculum lead below for assistance.

Ramien Pierre

Back to Top