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Engineering the next generation of space travel

Why studying space engineering will take you to infinity and beyond
As Australia’s only dedicated undergraduate space engineering degree, our Bachelor of Engineering Honours with Space Engineering is the ideal program for those students wanting to succeed in the new era of deep space exploration and development.
Rocket blasting off with space shuttle

Advancements in space exploration and space travel has come leaps and bounds since humankind first gazed upwards to the stars.

Since the successful space launch of the first artificial satellite Sputnik 1 in 1957, humans have set foot on the moon, built a dedicated space residency in the guise of the International Space Station, and launched numerous satellites and robotic spacecraft to journey and collect valuable data about the sun, our neighbouring planets and other interstellar bodies.

The next several decades are expected to feature humans making their return to the moon as well as setting foot on (and potentially colonising) the planet Mars.

As Australia’s only dedicated undergraduate space engineering degree, our Bachelor of Engineering Honours with Space Engineering is designed to equip the next generation of space engineers with the technical skills and knowledge needed to be involved in these feats and ultimately leave their mark on an industry sector projected to be worth US$558 billion by 2026 (1).

“Our Bachelor of Honours with Space Engineering is the only degree of it’s kind in Australia, providing students with a program that covers all space-related activities, from ground operations to the design and construction of orbital bodies and explorative spacecraft,” explains Dr Xiaofeng Wu.

“Our students learn about the many facets that make up space engineering, including orbital mechanics, space vehicles and ground station infrastructure, space avionics and space robotics.

“We’ve designed the curriculum so that students are taught the theory of each unit area and given many valuable hands-on opportunities to apply their learnings and solve solutions to diverse space engineering challenges.”

Examples of these challenges include:

  • designing optimal satellite orbits and spacecraft mechanics,
  • working in teams to construct a complete satellite system,
  • developing space robotic systems, and
  • designing control software on a satellite simulator.
USYD Rocketry Team

Our student-driven USYD Rocketry Team made history by winning the 10,000 feet commercial off-the-shelf category at the Spaceport America Cup in 2019.

Students studying space engineering also have opportunities to ply their knowledge and compete internationally in rocket-building and satellite-launching competitions by joining the student-driven USYD Rocketry Team.

In 2019, they made history by becoming the first Australian team to travel to the USA and compete in the Spaceport America Cup, winning the 10,000 feet commercial off-the-shelf category in their first attempt.

Students studying any of our Bachelor of Engineering Honours streams including space engineering are also taught enhanced foundation studies in data and computation so they are best positioned to engineer for the digital age.

“As a rapidly advancing and innovative field, the knowledge and experiences our space engineering students gain over the course of their degree with us will equip them for an exciting career across the aerospace, defence, environmental and research industries,” says Dr Wu.

“It is the ideal undergraduate degree for those students wanting to someday work overseas for international space agencies such as the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) or the European Space Agency (ESA), or even emerging private space firms such as Space-X or Virgin Galactic.

“Graduating space engineers can now also opt to remain closer to home, either by working for the Australian Space Agency, or securing one of the 12,000 highly skilled jobs to be created by the Australian Government and Australian private sector, including Myriota, Fleet Space, Inovor Technologies, Gilmour Space, to meet its goal of tripling the national space economy to $12 billion by 2030.

“Whatever their career path, this program provides our students with the tools needed to design and build the infrastructure or interplanetary spacecraft of the future – even those that have yet to be conceived.”

The University of Sydney’s Bachelor of Engineering Honours with Space Engineering degree is available to undergraduate students enrolled in our aeronautical engineeringmechanical engineering or mechatronic engineering streams who meet eligibility requirements.

 (1) PR Newswire

8 October 2020

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