Yes, It IS Rocket Science!

November 15, 2018

Yes, It IS Rocket Science!

Dr. Christopher Petersen is bringing Rocket Science to ECE next fall and he welcomes anybody with a basic knowledge of dynamics to join his class.

"This class will give students a flavor of spacecraft dynamics, navigation, guidance & control," said Petersen.

Peterson's class, "Guidance, Navigation and Control of Spacecraft," is known officially as ECE459/595 and will be held during the fall semester on Tuesday and Thursday, from 5:30 to 6:45 in ECE 132.

Christopher Petersen is a Research Aerospace Engineer in the Guidance, Navigation, & Control Section within the Space Vehicles Directorate of the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory located at Kirtland Air Force Base.

He is currently the Guidance & Control lead for the Guidance, Navigation, and Control Program.

Petersen received a B.S. from Syracuse University in Aerospace Engineering in 2012, and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 2016 in Spacecraft Dynamics & Control.

Here's a brief overview of what students will learn in this class:

The semester will begin by investigating how spacecraft move under forces such as the gravity of planets, drag, and solar radiation, with an emphasis of understanding such motion from an intuitive & mathematical standpoint.

The class will then move on to spacecraft control & estimation, exploring techniques that utilize and exploit the dynamics, some of which may be familiar to students such as LQ control design and Kalman filtering. Furthermore, students will be introduced to current technology and unique hardware for spacecraft actuation and sensing. MATLAB tools will be provided and developed throughout the semester to aid in understanding spacecraft motion as well as control/estimation design. The class is intended to be an overview, so a basic knowledge of dynamics (electrical or mechanical), control, and/or estimation from undergraduate courses is recommended but not required.

If any student has any questions on the course and whether to take it, please contact Dr. Petersen at

Rocket Science at ECE