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Space Systems Fundamentals Certificate Program (SS)

Program Length: 1 year | Starts: Fall/Spring | Curriculum: #273

Program Overview

Space assets are essential to modern warfare. The Space Systems Certificate provides the foundation to understanding the integration of space capabilities across combined armed forces, involving networks, sensors, and weapons. The certificate course sequences covers MILSATCOM, remote sensing, physics of the space environment, and orbitology, providing knowledge, and insight to exploit the combat advantage provided by current and future space-based resources.

Knowledge and analytical skills acquired in the program will prepare students to advocate USN/DoD interests in significant National Security Space Organizations, drive participation in joint processes for space system architecture and requirements development, prioritize the resources necessary to formulate and defend operational requirements for space, and engage in partnerships with other military services and agencies, such as the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and Defense Information Service Agency (DISA), to achieve naval space goals.

Students who complete the certificate will be awarded the 6206-L Space Systems Operations subspecialty code.

Certificate Program

The Space Systems Certificate program (273) is a 12-month, part-time program, with one course offered per quarter for four consecutive quarters, delivered asynchronously using web-based instruction (ONLINE). The web-based courses are paced week-to-week by the instructors, but students have great flexibility to do coursework at times of their choosing during each week.

The Space Systems Certificate is designed to broadly expose students to the role of space systems in the DoD and to give them skills and tools that they can immediately apply in current assignments requiring critical thinking and analytical skills. Navy officer graduates receive a 6206-L subspecialty code, Space Systems Operations. Significant portions of the Navy Space Cadre PQS are also covered.

A new Space Certificate class is scheduled to begin each Spring and Fall quarter. The programs can be delivered virtually anywhere to any qualified applicant.


Program Announcements

Call for Applications: Space Systems Certificate Program
Commencing the week of 27 March 2023 (curriculum 273)

The Naval Postgraduate School’s Space Systems Academic Group is pleased to announce that it is currently accepting applications for its distance learning Space Systems Certificate (curriculum 273). The class size is limited to 20 students. The Space Systems Certificate program is primarily targeted at Navy and Marine Corps Officers and enlisted students but is also open to other uniformed services, federal civilians, and defense contractor civilians when space is available. Space assets are essential to modern warfare. The program is designed to give students the foundation to understand the integration of Space capabilities across combined armed forces, involving networks, sensors and weapons. The student will gain critical thinking and analytical skills to support key space decisions in both operational and staff assignments.

Deadline for application is 3 January 2023. For more information, contact the Academic Associate, Stephen Tackett, at shtacket@nps.edu.



  • SS3011 - Space Technology and Applications
  • PH3052 - Physics of Space and Airborne Sensor Systems
  • SS3613 - Military Satellite Communication
  • PH2514 - Introduction to the Space Environment


Eligibility and Admissions Standards

The following are eligible for this program:

  • US Military Officers*
  • US Government Civilians (GS)
  • Enlisted Personnel
  • Contractors

*Per OPNAVINST 1520.23C, a Navy officer will incur a 1-year service obligation upon completion or withdrawal from the Space Systems Certificate Program (SS).


  • Baccalaureate Degree, with completion of college level algebra, geometry, trigonometry, logarithms, and physics (including electricity and magnetism).



NPS Mission-funded Tuition

NPS is mission-funded to provide tuition-free graduate education to active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers. Students are required to purchase their own textbooks.

Sponsor-reimbursed Tuition

Seats not filled by active duty Navy and Marine Corps officers will be made available for open enrollment to other uniformed officers, Department of the Navy and other federal government civilians, and defense contractor civilians under the sponsorship of their organization. The open enrollment tuition price is $2,500 per course. Students are required to purchase their own textbooks.

Please refer to the tuition page regarding general information on tuition for DL programs. For questions more about funding transfers, contact Tuition POC at: Tuition@nps.edu


Contact Information

For additional information specific to the program, please email the Program Director at SSAGCertificatePrograms@nps.edu

For more information contact the Academic Associate, Stephen Tackett, at shtacket@nps.edu.


NPS Follow-on Resident Programs

Space Systems Operations - Resident Degree Program (Curriculum 366)

The Space Systems Operations curriculum prepares the graduate to plan and manage military space systems and to develop the necessary requirements, strategy, and doctrine. Students will gain knowledge of and appreciation for military opportunities in space and acquire the practical and theoretical skills required for the execution of space-based operations. Included are both the space-based and terrestrial components of military systems employed for communications, surveillance, navigation, electronic warfare and environmental sensing.

Space Systems Engineering - Resident Degree Program (Curriculum 591)

The Space Systems Engineering program provides officers, through graduate education, with a comprehensive scientific and technical knowledge of military and Navy space systems. This curriculum is designed to equip officers with the theoretical and practical skills required to design and integrate military space payloads with other spacecraft subsystems. Graduates will be prepared by their education to design, develop and manage the acquisition of space communications, navigation, surveillance, electronic warfare and environmental sensing systems.


Additional SSAG certificates

Space Systems Design Certificate- Distance Learning – (Curriculum 253)

The Space Systems Design Certificate provides a top-level overview of basic spacecraft design. The four-course sequence is intended to convey to students—who may have limited or no space experience—the knowledge required to incorporate new and existing technologies into space systems, derive and articulate design requirements, and firmly understand the mission design life cycle. The certificate course sequence covers the major spacecraft subsystems within the construct of spacecraft cost, reliability estimates, and common spacecraft acquisition issues. The specific subsystems include structures, thermal, power, attitude control, propulsion, and telemetry, tracking, and command (TT&C).

Space Nuclear Command, Control and Communications Certificate Program- Distance Learning – (Curriculum 298)

The Space Nuclear Command, Control & Communications (NC3) Certificate is designed to give students a basic foundation to understand Space capabilities and their integration into the U.S. NC3 architecture involving networks, sensors and communication fundamentals relevant to U.S. strategic nuclear operations, deterrence and assurance. The students will understand various nuclear systems and communication nodes to the technical level. Upon completion students will understand the NC3 system basic modes of operation in various scenarios (such as peace time vs conflict). Students will be equipped to make informed recommendations regarding future NC3 system updates based on accepted design principles, past lessons learned, evolving deterrence needs, and new technology.

Space Control, Tactics, & Operations (SCTO) Certificate – Distance Learning – (Curriculum 266)

The Space Control, Tactics, & Operations (SCTO) Certificate is a four-course sequence that focuses on space control, specifically rendezvous and proximity operations. It is designed to serve the DoD Space community and increases the ability to meet DoD Space mission objectives. It provides a technical basis in orbital mechanics and space systems modeling and simulation, as well as the implications of operating space systems in a contested environment.