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Spacecraft Environment Interactions 7.5 credits

Rymdfarkosters fysiska omgivning
Second cycle, R7004R
Course syllabus valid: Spring 2022 Sp 3 - Present
The version indicates the term and period for which this course syllabus is valid. The most recent version of the course syllabus is shown first.

Education level
Second cycle
Grade scale
G U 3 4 5
Space Engineering
Subject group (SCB)
Space Technology
Main field of study
Space Technology

Entry requirements

F0005T Physics 2, F0006T Physics 3 and F0007T Electromagnetic field theory. Or, in other words calculus in one and several variables, linear algebra, vector analysis, mechanics, thermodynamics, electromagnetic field theory. Knowledge in satellite technique, fluid mechanics (part of F0030T Continuum Mechanics), and computer program MATLAB is recommended.

More information about English language requirements


The selection is based on 20-285 credits

Course Aim

The student shall acquire knowledge about the space environment, especially concerning its influence on problems for space-crafts and its instruments, as well as methods to mitigate the induced problems. This is shown by ability to describe the space environment and estimate the complex of problems with vehicles in space.

The student shall be able to describe and analyze the space environment and its influence on the spacecraft with its components. This is shown by performed hand calculations on a mathematical and physical basis. The student shall be able to use specific computer programs as a tool for describing the space environment and analyze and calculate its influence on the spacecraft with its components.

The student shall be aware of the uncertainties and limitations, e.g. as a consequence of the solar activity, that are associated with vehicles in space. The student shall be aware of the possible negative consequences with satellites in space, as e.g. space debris. This is shown by valuation of associated questions.


The space environment: solar radiation and solar wind, low temperatures, vacuum, atomic oxygen, atmospheric drag, orbital debris and micrometeoroids, plasma, and radiation. Effects on the spacecraft: outgassing, contamination, chemical reactions, atmospheric drag force, erosion, sputtering, glow, particle collisions, spacecraft charging, radiation influence in different wavelength bands, deep dielectric charging, influence on electronic circuits and living tissues.

Specific program SPENVIS is used in the course to calculate the space environment in satellite orbits and its influence on the spacecraft with its components.

Each course occasion´s language and form is stated and appear on the course page on Luleå University of Technology's website.
Lectures, exercise classes and computer laboratory exercise. In the practical, which preferably is done in group of two students, an open problem is treated that are presented in a written rapport in Swedish or English.

In the practical is computer program used that is also used by the space industry. Guest lecture who has worked with astronauts and cosmonauts.

If there is a decision on special educational support, in accordance with the Guideline Student's rights and obligations at Luleå University of Technology, an adapted or alternative form of examination can be provided.
Written examination and laboratory report. In order to pass the course it is required that all examinations and obligatory tasks are completely satisfactory. The written exam is graded with 5, 4, 3, and Fail(U), while the written laboratory report is graded with Approved (G) and Fail (U). The course is then graded with 5, 4, 3, and Fail (U). Borderline cases for approval of the written exam have the possibility of obtaining bonus points from the written laboratory report.

Since the course is given for both Swedish and international students, students are trained to communicate in international contexts.

Mikael Granvik

Transition terms
The course R7004R is equal to RYM006

Literature. Valid from Spring 2015 Sp 3 (May change until 10 weeks before course start)
Tribble: The Space Environment, Implications för Spacecraft Design, Princeton University Press 2003. ISBN 0-691-10299-6
Allowed at written exam:
Formula sheet: ”Formulae for Space Environment Course” and
Råde,Westergren: Mathematics Handbook, Studentlitteratur AB 2003, ISBN 9789144031095,
or alternatively, some other mathematical handbook.
Supplementary course literature:
Shu T. Lai: Fundamentals of Spacecraft Charging. Princeton 2012. ISBN 978-0-691-12947-1.
Daniel Hastings and Henry Garrett: Spacecraft-Environment Interactions. Cambridge 1996.
ISBN-10: 0521471281
ISBN-13: 978-0521471282
Supplementary course literature:
Chapter 7 in
Wertz, James R., Everett, David. F., Puschell, Jeffery J.: Space Mission Engineering: The New SMAD, Microcosm Press2011.
ISBN 978-1-881-883-15-9 (pb)
ISBN 978-1-881-883-16-6 (hb)

Course offered by
Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering

CodeDescriptionGrade scaleCrStatusFrom periodTitle
0002Laboratory workU G#1.50MandatoryA07
0003Written examG U 3 4 56.00MandatoryS22

Study guidance
Study guidance for the course is to be found in our learning platform Canvas before the course starts. Students applying for single subject courses get more information in the Welcome letter. You will find the learning platform via My LTU.

Syllabus established
The course plan was accepted by the Dept of Space Science 2007-02-28 and remains valid as from H07.

Last revised
by Jonny Johansson, HUL SRT 03 Nov 2021