Launchspace presents a special course prior to the 2021 ESMATS Conference in September 2021


Fundamentals of Space Vehicle Mechanisms

Course Description:

Fundamentals of Space Vehicle Mechanisms is a special edition of the internationally popular course on this topic. The instructor, Bill Purdy, explores the technologies required for successful space mechanisms design and offers a detailed look at many of the key components common to most mechanisms. The materials necessary to achieve high performance are discussed. Examples of the many types of mechanisms are included for illustration. In addition, mechanisms’ relationships and interfaces with other vehicle systems are explored. The course includes design and analysis examples to demonstrate principles involved in understanding how mechanisms should work and how design margins should be evaluated during the evolution of a program.

If you want to pick the right type of motor for your application, lubrication for your application or angular measurement device for your application, then this is the right course. You will learn the fundamentals of space mechanisms from a leading mechanisms expert. A unique benefit is the instructor’s sharing of his experience and lessons learned.

This course is at the right level for someone:

  • With less than 15 years of experience with space mechanisms
  • Who is responsible for the design of aerospace mechanisms
  • Tasked with analysis activities in thermal or structural elements of mechanisms
  • With responsibility for developing drive electronics for mechanisms or
  • Tasked with systems work related to implementing mechanisms

Course topics include:

  • Mechanisms used in space vehicle
  • Pointing subsystems, motors and feedback devices
  • Bearings, gears and lubrication fundamentals
  • Release and deployment systems
  • Power transfer and slip rings
  • Mechanisms analysis
  • Critical materials for mechanisms
  • Spacecraft – mechanism interfaces and sources of mechanism requirements


Bill Purdy has over 30 years of hands-on experience in the space engineering field with wide-ranging involvement in both spacecraft mechanisms and systems engineering disciplines. He has been one of the leaders of the space mechanism industry’s transition from explosive release mechanisms to non-explosive devices. Mr. Purdy has been involved in 35 successfully flown spacecraft and has worked on over 50 flown mechanisms including gimbals, release mechanisms, deployables and many other types of mechanisms. He is the Associate Editor of the industry-standard handbook Space Vehicle Mechanisms – Elements of Successful Design and the author of the chapter on non-explosive release mechanisms. He has published many Aerospace Mechanisms Symposia Papers and was the 1999 winner of the Herzl Award. Mr. Purdy holds a BSME from the University of Maryland.

This course will be presented online in four afternoon sessions from 1400 to 1800 on September 13, 14, 15 and 16, 2021. The fee is US$695.00 per attendees. Separate individual registration is required. To register please use this link:

For further Information Contact:

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Register for the Fundamentals of Space Vehicle Mechanisms


(The instructor was) “very knowledgeable and willing to answer questions.”

“The material content is excellent and will serve as an outstanding source for me as I continue to work with mechanisms.”

“The classwork examples put the content in realistic terms and reinforced my understanding of the material.”

(The instructor) “emphasized practical considerations which I appreciated.”

“Very good (course content) overview…case studies and examples are the best!”

(The instructor) “was very knowledgeable, insightful and competent. Knows his stuff.  Excellent speaker. I am glad I was able to attend.”

“A very interesting and qualified instructor. His relevant experience and inside knowledge really helped in presenting this material. He is very well spoken and was very good at capturing his audience’s attention.”

(The instructor) “kept things interesting. Dynamic. Clear and effective communicator. Excellent command of material!”

“Great anecdotes, good background.  Very enjoyable to listen to (this instructor).”

“Every engineer should go through this course for the many lessons learned.”

(The course) “was very informative… learned a lot… I want more!”