Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session


8.01 and 18.01

Course Requirements


Dava Newman. Interactive Aerospace Engineering and Design. McGraw-Hill, 2002.

Class Participation

Your questions and comments are extremely valuable. Since the lecture material is available ahead of time from the textbook and on the Web, there will be more time in lecture to discuss (in seminar style) the material rather than spending the entire 90 minutes copying the lecture notes from a blackboard. Discussions during class time are highly encouraged to fill gaps in the lecture material, to guide the pace of the class, and for you to enquire about the meaning, relevance, and importance of lecture material.


Students are required to compile a portfolio containing notes, brainstorming ideas, concepts, sketches and final designs. This comprehensive notebook, or Personal Design Portfolio (PDP), is due toward the end of the term (See syllabus). A recommended template is provided for developing your PDP (See CD-ROM). The intent is to promote good note taking habits as an aid to understanding the material, to put your creativity down on paper and the computer, to help me assess what you are picking up in the lectures, and to grade your individual contributions to your design teams. In sum, the PDP presents a concise snapshot of what you learn throughout the entire semester and emphasizes your individual contributions.

Problem Sets

All assignments are given on the syllabus homepage. Homework assignments include traditional problems, thought problems, design problems and Web-based presentations (Preliminary Design Review (PDR), and Critical Design Review (CDR).

Lighter-than-Air (LTA) Vehicle Design Project

Teams of 5-6 students each would design, build, and race a remote controlled, lighter-than-air vehicle. The teams compete in their ability to carry the largest payload around a specified course in the minimum amount of time. The designs are judged on their equivalent mass/time. LTA vehicles are also judged in the categories of most reliable and most aesthetic designs. All designs are constrained to have a gross mass of less than 1.75 kg. A project kit is provided consisting of radio control equipment, batteries, balloons, electric motors, and construction materials.


Performance will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, reading summaries, problem sets, personal design portfolio submissions, and the LTA vehicle design project. There will be no tests or final exam. The final grade for the course will be calculated approximately as follows:

  • Problem Sets and Reading Summaries 30%
  • Student Personal Design Portfolio 15%
  • LTA Design Project 45% (including PDR, CDR, Trials and Race)
  • Attendance, Participation, General Evaluation 10%

Problem Set Solutions

Solutions will be posted one week after problem sets are due.


There will be occasional handouts in lectures. It is expected that regular attendance in lecture will offer the opportunity to pick up these handouts.

A Note on Submission of Work

The manner in which you present your work can be just as important (and in some cases more so) than the final answer. Be sure to delineate each step along the way. Show a clear and logical approach to your solution. That makes your problem sets a better reference to you and easier for us to give you partial credit (if so deserving).