Introduction to Launch Vehicle Analysis and Design

By Prof. Ashok Joshi   |   IIT Bombay
Learners enrolled: 2016
Space has always been of keen interest to mankind as it is believed to contain information relevant to formation, existence and continued sustenance of our planet. Space mission is defined as an act of transporting a space object to its designated spot and then carrying out the scientific / technological activities. Transportation of these objects is done through launch vehicles which are important elements of any space mission. Launch vehicles provide the space object with sufficient energy to enable it to set up a desired space mission. The course aims to introduce fundamental principles governing ascent mission trajectory design including the configuration design of launch vehicles. It also aims to present various techniques that help in synthesizing the trajectory and the launch vehicle for specified objectives.

Undergraduate / postgraduate students, participants from industries involved with tasks related to space agencies, personnel from defence establishments engaged with missile system configuration design, teachers of engineering colleges having aerospace as the discipline.
PREREQUISITES : No specific pre-requisites are necessary. However, basic understanding of rigid body mechanics, fluid mechanics, and thermodynamics is desirable.
Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Elective
Duration : 8 weeks
Category :
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Flight Mechanics
Credit Points : 2
Level : Undergraduate/Postgraduate
Start Date : 21 Feb 2022
End Date : 15 Apr 2022
Enrollment Ends : 21 Feb 2022
Exam Date : 24 Apr 2022 IST

Note: This exam date is subjected to change based on seat availability. You can check final exam date on your hall ticket.

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction, Course Plan, Ascent Mission Basics, Force and Geometry Models 1 & 2
Week 2: Idealized Performance, Trajectory Under Gravity, Impact of Gravity, Impact of Drag
Week 3: Curvilinear Motion Concept, Constant Pitch Rate Solution, Constant Velocity Solution, Constant (T/m) solution
Week 4: Ascent Mission Design, Multi-stage Rocket Concept, Multi-stage Design Basics, Multi-stage Formulation
Week 5: Optimal Staging Concept, Lagrange’s Solution, Approximate Staging Solution, Concept of Rocket Variant
Week 6: Variant Design Solution, Parallel Staging Concept, Relativistic and SSTO Rocket Concepts, Air-breathing Rockets and Ballistic Missiles
Week 7: Jet Damping and Spin in Rockets and Missiles, Basics of Rocket Launching, Fundamentals of Re-entry, Typical Re-entry Techniques
Week 8: Revision of the Material and Doubt Clearing by Tas, Instructor

Books and references

Cornelisse et al, ‘Rocket Propulsion and Spaceflight Dynamics’, Pitman, 1979
Thompson, ‘Introduction to Space Dynamics’, Dover Publications, New York, 1986.
Hale, ‘Introduction to Space Flight’, Prentice Hall, 1994.
Wiesel, ‘Spaceflight Dynamics’, McGraw-Hill, 1997.
Walter, ‘Astronautics: The Physics of Space Flight’, Wiley-VCH, 2012.

Instructor bio

Prof. Ashok Joshi

IIT Bombay
Dr. Ashok Joshi is a professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Indian Institute Technology, Bombay in the broad area of Dynamics and Control of Flexible Flight Vehicles. He has over thirty-five years of teaching and research experience in the broad areas of Modelling, Dynamics, Navigation, Control and Guidance of Flexible Flight Vehicles. His research interests include; Flight Vehicle Navigation & Guidance, Structure-Control Interaction, Unmanned Aerial Systems, Multi-agent swarming algorithms, collaborative and cooperative missions. He has published 41 papers in journals and 74 in conference proceedings. He has taught the spaceflight mechanics to both undergraduate and postgraduate students for more than fifteen years.

Course certificate

The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
Date and Time of Exams: 24 April 2022 Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.


Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 6 assignments out of the total 8 assignments given in the course.
Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100

Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

YOU WILL BE ELIGIBLE FOR A CERTIFICATE ONLY IF AVERAGE ASSIGNMENT SCORE >=10/25 AND EXAM SCORE >= 30/75. If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.

Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Bombay.It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.

Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies will not be dispatched.

Once again, thanks for your interest in our online courses and certification. Happy learning.

- NPTEL team

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