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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: SPST612 Course ID: 3716 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

Even though the Chinese introduced rockets about 800 years ago, most of the important rocket development has taken place in the 20th Century. This course introduces rocket theory including specific impulse, thrust chamber design, nozzle design, heat transfer, and propellant composition and places particular emphasis on the development and use of liquid and solid rockets. The course concludes with a discussion of the future of rocketry including hybrid rockets, thrust vector control, and electric rockets. The material in this course is applicable and essential for any military or civilian Space Operator, Manager, or Designer who wants to achieve a better understanding of how rockets are designed and how they operate. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT YOU HAVE COMPLETED COLLEGE ALGEBRA PRIOR TO TAKING THIS COURSE

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/29/21 - 09/03/21 09/06/21 - 10/31/21 Summer 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Explain the fundamental principles of rocketry and key measures of rocket performance.
  • Examine liquid rocket design parameters, including types of propellants, engine nozzle shapes and the use of turbopumps.
  • Examine chemical rocket design parameters, including types of solid propellants and grain configuration.
  • Calculate engine-produced thrust, specific and total impulse, propellant mass flow rate, combustion chamber and tank pressures, propellant mixture ratios, and combustion chamber and nozzle design parameters.

Homework Assignments

There are a total of seven (7) homework assignments for this course, covering in detail all assigned readings -- your answers will clearly indicate whether or not you have kept up with the course schedule. Be sure to take your time with all homework assignments, show all mathematical work, and to double-check all answers before uploading your completed homework.

Forum Postings

Not counting the introductions forum, seven (7) times throughout the course, discussion items will be posted within the classroom. Your responses must be between 100-300 words, be in YOUR OWN WORDS (no quotes), well written and grammatically correct. Opinions are always welcome . . . however, postings providing only opinions will be graded accordingly! For the Weeks 2-8 forums, you must also comment on one other student’s posting.

The purpose of the forums is for you to engage your fellow students and learn from them. For this to occur, your interactions in the forums need to be timely. Therefore, all of your postings must be completed by the forum’s due date, unless you make a previous arrangement with me for a new due date for the forum. Additionally, postings more than one week after the due date for a forum will NOT be accepted (with the exception of approved course extensions).

Due Dates

All assignments in this course are given to you prior to the due date. The “due date” for all assignments is the week in which the assignment is due. For the purposes of this course, a “week” is defined as the time period between Monday – Sunday. The first week begins on the first day of the session and ends on 11:55 p.m. (Eastern time zone) the following Sunday. As a general rule, I will grade an assignment once everyone has submitted it. If you need additional time to complete an assignment, please contact me before the due date so we can discuss your situation and determine an acceptable resolution. If you submit an assignment after the due date without making prior arrangements with me, you will lose points from your final grade for the assignment.

Maintaining Contact

During this course, we can maintain contact in several ways. The first and best way is to send me a message using the classroom message system; the next way is via e-mail; and the last way is by phone. Please don’t get me wrong – I don’t mind phone calls. But since we are all on different schedules, I ask that you send me a message first to arrange a time to talk. However, most questions are best answered in writing. That way, the information can be referred to again in the future. And questions about the course are best discussed in the classroom, so I ask that you send me a message in the classroom to do this.

NameGrade %
Forum Participation 30.00 %
Week 1 Forum 3.75 %
Week 2 Forum 3.75 %
Week 3 Forum 3.75 %
Week 4 Forum 3.75 %
Week 5 Forum 3.75 %
Week 6 Forum 3.75 %
Week 7 Forum 3.75 %
Week 8 Forum 3.75 %
Homework Assignments 70.00 %
Week 2 Homework 10.00 %
Week 3 Homework 10.00 %
Week 4 Homework 10.00 %
Week 5 Homework 10.00 %
Week 6 Homework 10.00 %
Week 7 Homework 10.00 %
Week 8 Homework 10.00 %

Supporting Documents

If/when required, such documents will be posted in the Announcements and/or Lessons area of the classroom as the course progresses.

Supporting Websites

Be sure to use the APUS Online Library Research Center, as well as the APUS Space Studies Program Guide ( in support of your research efforts.

Selected Bibliography

There are numerous online sources to help you in better understanding the objectives outlined in this course. Please see the APUS Space Studies Program Guide ( for more information.

Book Title:Rocket Propulsion Elements, 9th ed. - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:Wiley
Author:Sutton, G. and Biblarz, O.
Unit Cost:$121.40

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.