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Commercial Spaceflight Operations and Communications

TLEN 5350

Commercial Spaceflight Operations and Communications

Fall 2016

Distance / In-Class


TUE THU 5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Classroom: ECCS 1B14


Aimed at a high level fundamental understanding of broadcasting, communication and navigation satellite systems. Topics: Orbital mechanics, orbit selection, spacecraft subsystems, spacecraft and earth station configurations, propagation issues, link budgets, modulation and multiplexing techniques, multiple access schemes (FDMA, TDMA, CDMA), error control coding, satellite network architecture, and economic, regulatory and business issues in GEO, MEO, and LEO systems.

This unique course (3 graduate credit hours) will cover topics in mission planning, operations, communications, and management with an emphasis on how technical, legal, and business factors influence the commercial execution of these aspects of space missions; and will provide opportunities to apply and understand the context of the technical aspects of spaceflight in real-world applications.

Content for this course has been assembled with extensive industry support from partners including Sierra Nevada Corporation, Virgin Galactic, United Launch Alliance, SpaceX, and Blue Origin, as well as government support from NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration; and will be taught collaboratively between the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences, the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, and supporting industry guest lectures.

Commercial Spaceflight Operations and Communications is available to both degree and non-degree students on the campus or via distance.  Those interested in taking this course via distance education for credit or professional development should contact Be Boulder Anywhere ( or find more details online at

Please direct any questions or requests for further course information to the corresponding instructor for this course at .

Meets with ASEN 5519 Commercial Spaceflight Operations and Communications


Course requirements and outline History and current status of the satellite industry Satellite subsystems Orbital Mechanics Look Angle Determination and Launch Vehicles Spacecraft and Earth Station Systems Launch Vehicles Satellite Link Analysis Modulation and Multiplexing FDMA Multiple Access TDMA Multiple Access CDMA Multiple Access Dynamic Allocation (protocols) Error Control Coding Satellite Network Architecture Sample Satellite Communications Systems Global Positioning Systems Economic, Business, and Regulatory aspects Current Topics in SATCOM.


  • Learn fundamental concepts of orbital mechanics.
  • Learn how satellites are used in communications, broadcasting, and global positioning.
  • Learn fundamental concepts of link budgets.
  • Learn fundamental concepts of multiplexing and multiple access schemes.
  • Learn about the business and regulatory aspects.


Introductory course in satellite communications.


Co-requisite of TLEN 5330: Data Communications 1 required.


Roddy, Satellite Communications, McGraw-Hill, 2006, ISBN: 0-07-146298-8.


Web and e-mail access required. Satellite Tookit by Analytical Graphics will be provided to each student at no charge.

Example Lecture: 

View an example course lecture


Not Required

Usually Offered: 

  • Fall

Previous Course Offerings

See up to the past five offerings of this course:
Semester Type Instructor(s) Schedule
Fall 2015 Distance / In-Class Bradley Cheetham, George Born TUE THU
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Fall 2014 Distance / In-Class Bradley Cheetham, George Born TUE THU
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM
Fall 2013 Distance / In-Class TUE THU
5:00 PM - 6:15 PM

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