16.00 Spring 2004 Course Facts

http://web.mit.edu/16.00/ (you need MIT certificates to access much of the material online)


UG Teaching Assistants/Graders

Course Assistant



Course Description:

The fundamental concepts and approaches of aerospace engineering and design are highlighted through lectures on aeronautics, astronautics, and design. Student teams are immersed in a hands-on, lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle design project where they design, build, and fly radio-controlled LTA vehicles. The connections between theory and practice are realized in the LTA vehicle project. Required design reviews precede the LTA race competition. The performance, weight, and principal characteristics of the LTA vehicles are estimated and illustrated using physics, mathematics, and chemistry known to freshmen, the emphasis being on the application of this knowledge to aerospace engineering and design rather than on exposure to new science and mathematics.


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

The text is required for the course. Assignments will come from the assigned textbook as well as from reference material. A copy of the textbook is on reserve in the Aero/Astro library, 33-111 (Eileen, edorsch@mit.edu, or phone (x3-5666)). Extensive use of the 16.00 Web site (http://web.mit.edu/16.00) is made and ALL READINGS are required previous to topical lectures. A CD-ROM containing course multimedia materials accompanies the textbook and will be used throughout the semester.

Course Requirements:

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 inquire about the meaning, relevance, and importance of lecture material.

Portfolio: 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 contribitions.

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-th an-Air (LTA) Vehicle Design Project: Teams of ~5-6 students each 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 Set Solutions:

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

Office Hours:

Prof. Newman will generally be available Mondays from 1:00-2:00 PM. For other times, please make an appointment. Lab hours during the second half of the semester during the LTA vehicle project will be posted.


There will be occasional handouts in lectures. It is expected that regular attendance in lecture will offer the opportunity to pick up these handouts. Should you miss a handout, extra copies will be available in 33-309.

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).