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Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology MEng/BEng(Hons)

Qualification Attendance UCAS code Year of entry
MEng 4 years full time H428 2017
MEng 5 years full time including sandwich year H429 2017
BEng(Hons) 3 years full time H430 2017
BEng(Hons) 4 years full time including sandwich year H427 2017

Important: if you are an international student requiring a Tier 4 student visa to study in the UK, you will need an ATAS certificate if you wish to apply for the Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology MEng course. Read further information.

Once you have completed the Aerospace Engineering Foundation Year (UCAS code H408), you can transfer on to the Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology BEng(Hons), dependent on satisfactory grades.

Why choose this course?

These courses are ideal if you are interested in the design, construction and operation of aircraft but would like to extend your study of aerospace engineering beyond the atmosphere and up into space. Both degrees are accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society as leading to chartered engineer (CEng) status.

Course ranking

The course scored 93% for academic support in the 2016 National Student Survey.

What you will study

Year 1 is common across all our chartered engineer status degrees and provides underpinning skills and knowledge for further specialised study. Subjects include mathematics, electronics and thermodynamics and engineering applications, alongside an introduction to the engineering profession. You will examine the engineering challenges of robotic and human spaceflight (including practical rocketry), hear an astronaut talk and get hands-on experience with real space hardware.

Year 2 introduces topics such as aerodynamics, propulsion, structures, dynamics and materials, and includes further study of mathematics, electronics, control and computing. You will further investigate the specific demands of space flight and the benefits of using the space environment, covering the definition, analysis and uses of orbits and trajectories. You will study the functional analysis of spacecraft and their payloads and space dynamics, and will carry out a practical design exercise involving rockets. There will also be an industrial visit and guest speakers from industry.

Year 3 includes a major astronautics module on space vehicle design. This is divided into critical support functions for space missions, core spacecraft subsystems, mechanical systems and an introduction to space mission design. Core lectures will be enhanced by industry visitors and tours to space companies that employ Kingston alumni. You will also carry out an individual research project, parallel to the taught modules. BEng students will take part in a group design project similar to the MEng students.

In Year 4 of the MEng degree, you will continue to deepen and broaden your expertise and undertake a major group design project. A specialist Space Mission Analysis and Design module will cover the design, cost, logistical and operational implications of space missions.

How we work with professional bodies

Royal Aeronautical SocietyThe Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology MEng course is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society and satisfies, in full, the academic requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng) and Incorporated Engineer (IEng) registration.

The Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology BEng(Hons) course is accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society and satisfies, in part, the academic requirements for Chartered Engineer (CEng) registration and in full, Incorporated Engineer (IEng) registration.

Find out more about the full criteria and validity for Chartered Engineer (CEng) status and Incorporated Engineer (IEng) status.

Engineering Council logo

This degree has been accredited by the Royal Aeronautical Society under licence from the UK regulator, the Engineering Council. Accreditation is a mark of assurance that the degree meets the standards set by the Engineering Council in the UK Standard for Professional Engineering Competence (UK-SPEC). An accredited degree will provide you with some or all of the underpinning knowledge, understanding and skills for eventual registration as an Incorporated (IEng) or Chartered Engineer (CEng). Some employers recruit preferentially from accredited degrees, and an accredited degree is likely to be recognised by other countries that are signatories to international accords.

Please check the Engineering Council website for more information.

Aerospace Engineering, Astronautics & Space Technology MEng/BEng(Hons) student projectsFor his final-year project, Jack James Marlow created a modular rocket test system that's the only bi-propellant system available for students in the UK.

Find out more about the projects our students have done on this course.

Module listing

Please note that this is an indicative list of modules and is not intended as a definitive list. Those listed here may also be a mixture of core and optional modules.

Year 1

  • On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Describe the characteristics of the atmosphere and explain the basic terminology related to the airflow around a body.
    • Explain the basic theory of flight, flight stability and the operation of aircraft control devices and provide a simple explanation of common engineering design features related to aerodynamic control.
    • Using the general principles of the ATA 100, describe the layout and operation of aircraft major components and systems.
    • Explain the fundamental principles of aircraft gas turbine propulsion and describe the construction and operation of the engines and associated systems.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the aerospace industry, its regulatory framework and the terminology commonly used.
    • Demonstrate an understanding of the unique demands and benefits of the space environment, the context of space engineering, history of space exploration, and the requirements and features of some example space missions.
  • This module introduces the fundamentals of thermofluids (thermodynamics and fluid mechanics) and solid mechanics (statics and dynamics). The thermofluids section covers the key concepts of system, work, heat and the main thermodynamics laws with special reference to their engineering applications. An introduction to main equations of fluid mechanics and dynamics, dimensional analysis, properties of fluids and their measurement methodology and units.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Describe the fundamental properties of a fluid, use correct unit, property tables and charts. State and apply the zeroth, first and second laws of thermodynamics to engineering problems.
    • State the basic equations of fluid mechanics, explain the concepts of pressure, temperature and measurements methods.
    • Describe laminar and turbulent flows and apply continuity, momentum and energy equations to fluid flow.
    • Determine the external and internal forces and moments in simple structures under equilibrium and carry out one-dimensional stress analysis of engineering components in tension, compression and bending modes.
    • Carry out kinematics and kinetics analysis of dynamic systems with constant and variable accelerations.
    • Apply Newton's laws and energy method to engineering components in motion modelled as particles and rigid bodies.
  • This module introduces the basic concepts from electrical and electronic engineering, using analytical methods. The module embeds a solid foundation in engineering mathematics which is then conceptualised to find solutions to engineering problems. An introduction to basic programming skills applied to engineering problems is also included.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Apply simple principles, laws and theorems to the analysis of electrical and electronic circuits.
    • Describe characteristics of electrical systems, electronic devices and electronic instruments including key concepts such as amplification.
    • Apply basic programming skills to simple engineering problems and demonstrate appreciation of importance of programming in engineering.
    • Perform calculations using matrix algebra, trigonometry and complex numbers.
    • Use calculus to solve engineering problems.
    • Use statistical methods, including probability to an engineering problem.
  • This module aims to develop competence in the application of the fundamentals of engineering design to a given specification including the manufacture and testing of that design. The module provides an understanding of the structure and synthesis of a broad range of engineering materials, their test methods, structure, implications for manufacture and the control of these structures to produce optimum performance in service. The design part of the module will develop skills in engineering drawings and computer aided design (CAD) and solid modelling together with an introduction to the fundamentals of material science.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Produce and interpret engineering drawings in accordance with international standards.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in the use of solid modelling technologies in the design and development of products.
    • Describe and apply the engineering design process from specification through to design optimisation.
    • Apply a knowledge of molecular structure, crystalline structure and phase transformation to identify different types of materials and to describe their range of properties and applications.
    • Describe the characteristics of a range of common engineering materials including the various failure modes and provide simple analysis using appropriate analytical tools such as the concept of fracture mechanics.
    • Identify and describe common engineering manufacturing processes.

Year 2

  • On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Perform fundamental calculations appropriate to the design of aerospace vehicles.
    • Examine the trade offs which arise in aerospace vehicle design and make appropriate design decisions.
    • Work in and lead a small team.
    • Communicate results of design investigations in design reports.
    • Apply project management techniques to simple projects including the use of appropriate software.
    • Carry out economic assessments using discounted cash flow methods and calculate project return rates.
    • Define and analyse orbits and trajectories, carry out functional analysis of spacecraft, develop an understanding of space dynamics and apply this knowledge through practical design exercises.
  • This module deals with advanced electronic systems and concepts from classical control, including feedback control systems and analysis of their response and the effects of the feedback loop. A range of engineering programming tools are used to model and analyse the performance of engineering systems, enabling learning of the functionality of control analysis and design software.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Analyse a range of electronic systems including operational amplifiers based circuits and digital signal processing systems.
    • Design a modern digital system.
    • Construct models of engineering systems and design appropriate controllers and use formal methods to determine system performance (including step and frequency response analysis).
    • Employ computational methods in modelling and simulation of engineering control systems.
    • Design computing algorithms, implement and verify for accuracy and efficiency, using a high level computing language and use structural techniques that aid the understanding of given programming implementations.
    • Apply appropriate analytical techniques and methods to solve classical electronic and control problems.
  • This module deals in greater depth with statics, materials and dynamics and  topics of particular relevance to aerospace studies. The module includes further work on the analysis of beams, materials used in aerospace such as composites and develops the knowledge of vibration theory and application of dynamics of particles and rigid bodies in aerospace. Topics such as Bredt-Batho theory, aircraft dynamic performance and stability, finite element application in static and dynamic analysis of structures are also introduced.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Analyse problems related to direct stress utilising buckling analysis and asymmetric sections.
    • Apply flexural and torsional shear stress distributions thin-walled sections typically found in aerospace structures.
    • Derive and solve mathematical models for vibratory systems with one and more degree of freedom under free and forced conditions.
    • Describe and analyse problems related to the performance, stability and control of aircraft.
    • Measure strain, deflection and vibrations in components, analyse the results and write a technical report.
    • Describe and analyse the material properties used in aerospace and carry out finite element modelling (FEM/FEA) for validation, design and optimisation of structures.
  • This module provides further learning more specifically required for the potential aerospace engineer. The basics of aerodynamics and aerospace propulsion are introduced with the ability to analyse, formulate and solve elementary problems which is underpinned by covering the mathematics required for this course.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Analyse, formulate and solve elementary problems in aircraft aerodynamics.
    • Analyse, formulate and solve elementary problems in aerospace propulsion.
    • Apply techniques of differentiation and integration to engineering problems.
    • Solve first and second order ordinary differential equations.
    • Solve partial differential equations using various methods and techniques.
    • Use complex numbers, series expansions and matrices.

Optional sandwich year: MEng and BEng(Hons)

Year 3/4

  • The module aims to allow you to understand design challenges and specify requirements for core spacecraft subsystems including power, environment, TTC, orbits, and data handling. Mechanical subsystems in particular spacecraft structures, propulsion, thermal, and attitude control and their differences from aero or aerospace vehicles are covered. The student knowledge and skill base on rocket launcher design and critical support functions for space mission including operations, and systems engineering are addressed. Basic concept and solution procedures for problems such as spacecraft subsystem and orbit selection and sizing, supported by commercial package such as Systems Toolkit will be carried out.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Carry out basic design (specification and sizing) of core spacecraft subsystems.
    • Compare and critique critical support functions for spacecraft design, for example operations and systems engineering.
    • Design at concept level mechanical spacecraft subsystems with an emphasis on structures and propulsion.
    • Explain the difference between space vehicle and space mission design, using needs of remote sensing, re-entry, and human spaceflight missions as context.
    • Understand the fundamentals of launcher design and how they differ from spacecraft and aircraft design.
    • Demonstrate through further group working an ability to solve customer problems by building an effective team, analysing requirements, developing a specification, and engineering a simple system.
    • Understand the potential of Systems Toolkit and other industry standard software as preliminary design tools.
  • This core module creates the opportunity to work as a member of a design team on an aerospace design project and develop a broader understanding of the business context of engineering activities.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Work effectively as part of an aerospace design team.
    • Communicate ideas in written and oral form a the level expected of a graduate engineer.
    • Demonstrate the competences in management and business required by professional engineers including basic accounting principles and performance measurement.
    • Analyse the domestic and international business environment including the driving forces that affect business growth.
    • Discuss the choices available in the pursuit of growth and success and the concept of strategic marketing.

    Examples of recent group design projects in space engineering include:

    • Optimisation of rocket propulsion pressurisation for a small launcher.
    • Investigation into re-entry probe decelerators.
    • Concept design of a low cost 50kg class satellite launcher.
    • Rapid prototyped CubeSat Satellite Structure.
    • Preliminary design of a hybrid engine powered sounding rocket.
  • This module is a core module in the Aerospace Engineering BEng programmes and forms a 'capstone' experience for the course. This major project is undertaken throughout the final year of the BEng programme, allowing the students to research and study in depth a topic in aerospace engineering which is of personal interest, allowing students to demonstrate the ability to analyse, evaluate, appraise, show organisational capability and communicate.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Initiate project work by conducting a critical literature survey and setting realistic project goals and milestones.
    • Conduct regular project meetings to discuss and evaluate new ideas and to review progress against deadlines.
    • Present information and defend arguments both orally and in the form of a poster-style display.
    • Structure a report in clear English providing a description of work undertaken, a synthesis of the data collected and present a logical discussion of the processes, results and conclusions.
    • Produce project work commensurate to a BEng standard always being aware of your personal and professional responsibilities.

    Recent project titles in space engineering have been:

    • Hybrid rocket lab operation and safety assessment.
    • Materials for Mars rovers.
    • Liquid oxygen hybrid rocket engine.
    • Design and build of a small bhipropellant rocket engine.
    • Development of a trajectory analysis tool for a small satellite launch vehicle.
    • Use of pressure sensitive paint for aerospace vehicle analysis.
    • Hypersonic Waverider aerodynamic investigation.
    • Measurement of thrust steering or vectoring in a small hybrid rocket engine.
  • Further Aerodynamics and Propulsion and Computational Techniques
    This module extends the analysis of aerodynamic and propulsive systems with a view to provide the ability to design and evaluate aerodynamic loadings on aerospace vehicles as well as propulsion systems. The module aims to extend the knowledge and skill base of solving aerospace engineering problems with advanced analytical approaches using computational fluid dynamics and Matlab programming.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Analyse, formulate and solve advanced problems in sub-sonic and supersonic aircraft aerodynamics.
    • Analyse, formulate and solve advanced problems in aerospace propulsion.
    • Develop mathematical model for aerospace engineering problems via 'formulation-analysis-interpretation-assessment' cycle approach.
    • Design and implement computer programmes and user graphic interface based on software platform to solve engineering problem.
    • Understand the principles of computational fluid dynamics and basic numerical techniques of solving partial differential equations.
    • Use CFD software to model and solve engineering flow problem related to aerospace such as aerodynamics, propulsion, heat transfer.

    Further Aerospace Structures, Materials and Dynamics
    This module aims to extend knowledge of the analytical techniques applicable to aerospace structures and the function of structural components.

    The multifaceted discipline of materials technology with a focus on fracture and fatigue analysis is presented along with finite element analysis of typical aircraft structures. In addition, the module provides an understanding of aircraft dynamic stability, structural dynamics and aero-elasticity.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Analyse failure of materials using fracture mechanics.
    • Predict materials behaviour under fatigue loading.
    • Analyse aerospace structures using finite element methods.
    • Solve matrix equations for natural characteristics and forced response of structures. Apply modal testing and MATLAB to solve eigenvalues problems.
    • Determine the aircraft longitudinal and lateral dynamic stability modes of motion.
    • Evaluate static and dynamic aeroelsatic effects on typical aircraft structures.

Optional sandwich year: MEng

Year 4/5

  • The module is designed to provide you with the research skills and techniques necessary to select and justify a research topic, plan project execution, use various resources to carry out a literature search and successfully complete the project and other module assignments on the course. It further develops your knowledge and skills in business and management, with a particular focus on entrepreneurship and innovation. It supports you in producing proposals for enterprise ideas such as new products or services, or innovations in existing processes or organisations. Concepts of total quality management to enhance quality of products and processes in an industrial setting are presented and application of supporting quality tools and techniques are discussed.

  • This module aims to develop a good understanding of the challenges of space engineering, a set of tools and reference to tackle future design problems. Building on the previous space vehicle design module it is intended to provide experience at space mission (compared to space vehicle) analysis and design. A space mission in addition to space vehicles comprises instruments and platforms, launch vehicles, orbits and trajectories and groung segment plus user interfaces.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Describe and apply the space mission and analysis design process.
    • Analyse major space mission drivers such as propulsion, low cost and science / instrumentation payload hosting.
    • Perform payload and spacecraft design and sizing.
    • Define mission operations and space business plan.
    • Prepare proposals for funding, scientific papers and industry briefing papers.
    • Develop and implement a space experiment.
  • This module incorporates a major project which aims to give experience working as a design team, researching and studying in depth an industrially relevant design task. The module provides a simulated experience of the difficulties and needs for team work within the modern engineering environment with the aim to develop project management skills, organisational and interpersonal skills.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Generate an industrially relevant design from initial specification through the detailed design stage, to the optimised solution.
    • Manage and participate in the design process, devising an effective plan of approach with appropriate time scheduling.
    • Participate in meetings as a team member, secretary or chairperson, produce minutes and keep a properly maintained log book
    • Effectively defend a technical design via a presentation to an industrial audience and produce a final technical report to a professional standard.

    Example recent project titles where mechanical, aerospace and astronauts and space technology students have worked together include:

    • Sounding rocket testbed for a small satellite launcher.
    • Pump feed system for a small satellite launcher.
    • Aerostructural design for a winged, reusable small satellite launcher.
  • Further Computational Fluid Dynamics and Aero-elasticity
    Details to be confirmed.

    Aerospace Systems Engineering
    This module applies a systems engineering approach to the analysis of aerospace systems with the aim to develop systems that are robust and respond to customer's needs. The module deals with the lifecycle of aerospace systems and the associated costs.

    On successful completion of the module, you will be able to:

    • Identify and quantify system goals.
    • Create alternative design concepts.
    • Analyse design trade offs.
    • Select and implement the best design.
    • Evaluate system performance.
    • Evaluate and manage risk.

You will have the opportunity to study a foreign language, free of charge, during your time at the University on a not-for-credit basis as part of the Kingston Language Scheme. Options currently include: Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish.

Study abroad as part if your degreeMost of our undergraduate courses support studying or working abroad through the University's Study Abroad or Erasmus programme.

Find out more about where you can study abroad:

If you are considering studying abroad, read what our students say about their experiences.

Key information set

The scrolling banner(s) below display some key factual data about this course (including different course combinations or delivery modes of this course where relevant).

We aim to ensure that all courses and modules advertised are delivered. However in some cases courses and modules may not be offered. For more information about why, and when you can expect to be notified, read our Changes to Academic Provision.

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This course is taught at Roehampton Vale

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This course is taught at Roehampton Vale

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