16.885J / ESD.35J Aircraft Systems Engineering

As taught in: Fall 2005

The shuttle passes Mach 1, producing shockwaves.

The space shuttle passes through the sound barrier during ascent. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

Level:

Graduate

Instructors:

Prof. Jeffrey Hoffman

Course Features

Course Highlights

This course was administrated by shuttle astronaut and MIT Professor Jeff Hoffman and Professor Aaron Cohen, who was the Space Shuttle Orbiter Project Manager. Guest speakers provide the majority of the content in video lectures, discussing topics such as system design, accident investigation, and the future of NASA's space mission.

Course Description

16.885J offers a holistic view of the aircraft as a system, covering: basic systems engineering; cost and weight estimation; basic aircraft performance; safety and reliability; lifecycle topics; aircraft subsystems; risk analysis and management; and system realization. Small student teams retrospectively analyze an existing aircraft covering: key design drivers and decisions; aircraft attributes and subsystems; and operational experience. Oral and written versions of the case study are delivered. For the Fall 2005 term, the class focuses on a systems engineering analysis of the Space Shuttle. It offers study of both design and operations of the shuttle, with frequent lectures by outside experts. Students choose specific shuttle systems for detailed analysis and develop new subsystem designs using state of the art technology.