Pluto Express Spacecraft Systems

This section covers the basic systems required to build any spacecraft and will help you with two requirements: requirement 5c, design of a planetary probe, and requirement 7, design of a space station. On this web page you will find

If you look at a picture or model of a spacecraft you can usually see how it works and what makes it go. Here's what to look for:

Summary of Spacecraft Systems

Magellan Spacecraft Venus Orbiter Example

Magellan Diagram

Spacecraft Systems

Power Systems

Picture of Pioneer Jupiter probe. Note the RTG's at the end of the boom arms and the large dish antenna for beaming a signal from Jupiter, 500 million miles away.


Propulsion / Attitude Control

Temperature Control

Mariner 10

This image of Mariner 10 to Mercury shows the little white parasol over the electronics to shade them from the Sun, 6 times as intense at Mercury as at Earth. The long boom arms hold the magnetometers.

Navigation & Guidance

Science Instruments

Obviously the science instruments on board the spacecraft depend on its science mission.

Gemini 7 Apollo
Manned Spacecraft Systems

For manned spaceflight like Gemini, Apollo and the Space Shuttle, additional systems will be found on the spacecraft - to keep the astronauts alive and to bring them home in one piece.

Life Support

What are all the jobs that need to be done for life support? These tasks will be particularly important for your Space Station design.

Shuttle Landing

Re-entry and Spacecraft Recovery

Consists of two parts, mainly -

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Your questions and comments regarding this page are welcome. You can e-mail Randy Culp for inquiries, suggestions, new ideas or just to chat.
Updated 8 September 2008