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SPST501 - Introduction to Space Studies

Course Details

Course Code: SPST501 Course ID: 3711 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course serves as an introduction to the APUS Space Studies Master’s program. It describes on the main concentrations in Space Studies: Astronomy, Aerospace Science, Space Policy, and Space Entrepreneurship. It also focuses on the technical writing proficiency expectation for graduate study and the importance of the peer review process in scientific literature. The course explores both current and future directions in NASA space exploration. It also introduces the new United States Space Force (USSF), and considers the implications of the USSF for the direction of our country’s space exploration policy.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session
10/26/21 - 04/01/22 04/04/22 - 05/29/22 Spring 2022 Session B 8 Week session
11/30/21 - 04/29/22 05/02/22 - 06/26/22 Spring 2022 Session I 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe each of the 4 Space Studies Masters concentration.
  • Demonstrate scientific writing skills.
  • Evaluate possible employment opportunities in each concentration, and compare the responsibilities, advancement potential, and financial compensation associated with each.
  • Identify the main components of a thesis and describe how to write one.
  • Examine current research taking place in the APUS Space Studies Department, and what opportunities there are for students to do research.
  • Describe the significance of the creation of the Space Force.
  • Analyze current and upcoming NASA missions

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

Forum Postings

There are eight forums in the class; for each, you are required to submit an initial post by 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday evening and at least two responses (in addition to monitoring your own thread) by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday evening.. Your post and responses must be between 100-300 words,(depending on the forum), be in YOUR OWN WORDS, well written and grammatically correct. Sources used must be cited at the end of your posting (not included in the word count). Your responses will clearly show whether you have completed assigned classroom readings. Opinions are always welcome… However, postings providing only opinions will be graded accordingly! Be sure to read the directions associated with each posting. Please see the forum rubric in each forum's description for more details..


In this course, you will complete 4 research papers, one relating to each of the Space Studies concentrations. Each paper has a general prompt which allows you to explore a specific topic of your choosing within the parameters of the prompt. The completed papers should be 6-8 pages in length, not including the title page, references, etc. Please see the rubrics in the Assignments folder for specific details.

You will have two weeks to complete each paper. The first week, you will submit an outline for the paper. The more details you can provide in the outline, the better I will be able to give helpful feedback on the paper.

Below is a list of some common writing errors to avoid in assignments. Please review this list carefully, but be aware that it is not meant to be comprehensive.

Single sentence paragraphs

Using clichés

Overuse/Unnecessary Quotes

Using contractions

Not writing in third person

Starting Sentence with “and” or “but”

Sentence fragments/sentences that don't make sense

Misspelt words

Using Wikipedia or other similar sources as references

No citations and/or references: assignment receives grade of 0 until returned properly cited and referenced

NameGrade %
Forums 20.00 %
Forum 1 2.50 %
Forum 2 2.50 %
Forum 3 2.50 %
Forum 4 2.50 %
Forum 5 2.50 %
Forum 6 2.50 %
Forum 7 2.50 %
Forum 8 2.50 %
Paper Outlines 20.00 %
Space Policy Paper Outline 5.00 %
Astronomy Paper Outline 5.00 %
Aerospace Science Paper Outline 5.00 %
Space Entrepreneurship Paper Outline 5.00 %
Research Papers 60.00 %
Space Policy Research Paper 15.00 %
Astronomy Research Paper 15.00 %
Aerospace Science Research Paper 15.00 %
Space Entrepreneurship Paper 15.00 %

Other Resources:

The APUS Online Library

– An outstanding source for research information

The NASA homepage –

– Current and historical spaceflight information and an extensive gathering of open source literature

Book Title:Space 2.0 : How Private Spaceflight, a Resurgent NASA, and International Partners are Creating a New Space Age - e-book available in the APUS Online Library
Publication Info:BenBella Books, Inc. Lib
Author:Pyle, Rod; Aldrin, Buzz

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.