Online EducationContact Us

Executive Associate Director

Ph: (931) 393-7319

James Simonton

Management Specialist

Ph: (931) 393-7293

Charlotte Henley

Continuing Education

The rapid changes occurring in technology make it essential that a university provide opportunities for continuing engineering studies. The University of Tennessee Space Institute recognizes continuing education as an important and basic responsibility and considers it to be an integral part of the academic programs at the Institute. The Continuing Education programs offered are designed to be responsive to the needs of engineers and scientists, and the skilled craftsman in industry and government. The courses have been carefully selected and emphasis is given to new developments. The courses are conducted by the UTSI staff and by the most qualified persons available in education, industry, government and the private sector.

Becky Stines

Director for Continuing Education Program

UT Space Institute

411 B. H. Goethert Parkway

Tullahoma, TN 37388

Phone: (931) 393-7276

Fax: (931) 393-7285


Course Date: TBD

Course Fee: 

Test Engineer –Critical Hypersonic Phenomena, Characterization & Simulation

“Critical Hypersonic Phenomena, Characterization & Simulation” is a one-day course designed to familiarize engineers and scientists who have recently moved into the field with the technical challenges, research tools, and critical phenomena associated with the development of hypersonic systems. The course is intended for technical personnel, but is accessible for those in leadership or supporting roles within an organization who would like to increase their familiarity with the technical challenges of hypersonic systems. Topics covered include an overview of the challenges of hypersonic systems, an introduction to high-temperature effects, ground testing methods, diagnostic methods, simulations and a review of critical phenomena that drive technical risk. With the intent that this is an introductory course, technical topics and theory are introduced conceptually with a variety of informative graphics and animations from ongoing research efforts and minimal reliance on equations.

Dr. John D. Schmisseur

Dr. John D. Schmisseur joined the faculty of the University of Tennessee Knoxville Department of Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering on August 1, 2014. He teaches and leads research at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. Prior to joining the faculty, John was the Chief of the Energy, Power & Propulsion Sciences Division and Program Manager for Aerothermodynamics within the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR). During his tenure at AFOSR, John initiated and led a national strategic research plan which has guided the research efforts of multiple federal agencies, championed the transition of basic research capabilities that have advanced flagship national hypersonics technology programs and transformed test and evaluation capabilities, and envisioned the HIFiRE program which unifies the efforts of AFRL, NASA and the Australian DSTO to advance fundamental hypersonic science and technology via flight research. He is active within the professional community including having served as Chair of the AIAA Fluid Dynamics Technical Committee and a NATO Science and Technology Organisation working group. Dr. Schmisseur earned his B.S. (90) and M.S. (92) in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. (97) in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Purdue University. He is a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (2012) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (2013) and is the 2008 recipient of the Air Force Science and Engineering Award in Research Management.

Dr. Mark T. Gragston

Dr. Mark T. Gragston completed his B.S. in Mathematics, B.S. in Physics, and M.S. in Engineering at Louisiana Tech University, followed by a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tennessee Knoxville in 2018. Dr. Gragston is primarily interested in the development and utilization of laser and optical diagnostics techniques for measurements of aerospace relevant flows, plasmas, and combustion processes. He joined the faculty at the University of Tennessee Space Institute in 2018 to aid in the development of laser and optical diagnostics capabilities for the hypersonic research efforts of the HORIZON group. During his Ph.D., Dr. Gragston was awarded a Tennessee Space Grant Consortium Graduate Fellowship, a Best Student Paper Award in Aerodynamic Measurement Technology at AIAA SciTech 2018, and two provisional U.S. Patents related to imaging and laser diagnostics. Dr. Gragston is a member of the Optical Society, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the American Physical Society.

Course Date: TBD

Course Fee: $3,500

Test Engineer –Test Hazards and Risk Assessment

Course Description:

This one week short course will provide an introduction to test hazards and risk assessments technique. Academics and practical laboratories will cover writing test hazards, conducting safety review board, and writing safety findings. The course also includes 2 in-flight laboratory sessions were students will apply the test hazard and risk assessment process. Additional topics will include test incident reporting and investigations. UTSI report formats and processes are similar to NASA Armstrong and Edwards AFB however customer formats and processes are encouraged. Class attendance is limited to 7 students.

Course Date:  TBA

Course Fee:  $2,495

Missile and Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control: Six-Degree of Freedom Motion of Vehicle, Application of Eulerian Dynamics, Application of Quaternion Analysis in Control System Strategy, Use of Gyroscopic Attitude Control, Gravity Gradient Stabilization, Application of Optical Sensing Mechanisms in Vehicle Control, Optimal Control Strategies Using Pontryagin Maximum Principle, Orbital Intercept, Rendezvous, and Terminal Guidance, Application of Inertial Guidance Techniques with GPS Enhancement

Course Date: May 18-22, 2020

Inflight Icing


This course will consist of a ground school covering all pertinent aspects of aircraft icing, and a ground based simulation of icing effects on aircraft stability and control characteristics. A combination of guest lecturers and UTSI staff, who are subject matter experts (SME) in various fields of icing technology, flight testing, and flight operations, will provide a comprehensive curriculum covering the following subject matter:

• Icing Meteorology including Supercooled Large Droplet (SLD) icing

• Ice shape formations and how they relate to the physical properties of icing clouds

• Aerodynamic effects of icing on airfoils

• Practical applications of aircraft stability and control characteristics and performance to icing certification testing

• Flight test results of icing effects on aircraft performance, stability and control, including SLD and Ice Contaminated Tailplane Stall (ICTS)

• Icing related upsets – wing and tail stall

• FAR 23/25/29 icing certification requirements

• A customer requested presentation by a subject SME’s on methods and procedures for helicopter icing certification testing

• A one hour ground based simulator training session in the NASA Ice Contamination Effects Flight Training Device (ICEFTD)

Course Date: May 19-21, 2020

Course Fee:  $2,195

Hypersonic Cruise Vehicle Operations: Propulsion System Selection as Dictated by Mission, Launch System Design and Trajectory Analysis, Autonomous Control Strategies and Trajectory Optimization, Guidance Strategies and Application of GPS Enhancement

Fundamentals of Solid Propellant Rocket Motors

Course Fee:  $1,895

Course Date: August 17-20, 2020

Course Description:

This course is a concise coverage of the fundamental principles of solid rocket motor design and analysis.  Attendees will acquire a comprehensive working knowledge of all features that are unique to the operation of a solid rocket motor including: propellant formulations and their characteristics, propellant mixing and casting, CFD simulations of the casting process, propellant burning rate laws, the ignition process, combustion effects, the casting process, detonation, combustion chamber flow, steady and unsteady flow effects, design of propellant grain geometry, simulation of the burning process, two-phase flow effects involving combustion of metallic additives, nozzle flow and nozzle design, heat conduction effects and material ablation.

A brief introduction of operational problems unique to solid rockets is also presented.  The course emphasizes the correct choice and application of analytical and numerical tools in design and in solid rocket development problem solving.  Many case studies and examples of successful problem solutions are presented.

Course Date:  May 11-13, 2020

Course Fee: $2,195

Missile Flight Dynamics:  Optimal Flight Paths in Three-Dimensional Planetocentric Coordinates, Effects of Planetary Spin, Effects of Inertial Forces on Vehicle Motion, Effects of Aerodynamic Forces, Effects of Vehicle Angular Motions on Trajectory (Jet Damping and Nutation Instabilities), Interaction of Vehicle Motion on Propulsion System Operation, Application of Vehicle Staging, Single-State-to-Orbit Trajectory Design, Tactical and Strategic Missile Trajectory Design Principles

Leadership Strategies for Technical Professionals 
Course Date: TBA
Course Description:

This course presents leadership strategies, principles, styles and dynamics that must be understood by technical professionals engaged in the creation of products, processes, and services in technology-based organizations through:
• Better understanding of leadership styles and their impact on a technical organization;
• Better understanding of, and differentiation between, a leader and a manager;
• Better understanding of organizational culture and how it influences the workplace and leadership issues;
• Better understanding of the unique nature of women and leadership and military leadership.
Course Objectives:
• To introduce and discuss the concepts, theory, and traits of leadership as it is differentiated from management methods and principles for technology and engineering organizations.
• To identify and define the similarities and differences between leadership in military and non-military organizations, leadership by and of women, and servant leadership.
• To internalize these concepts and understand how they influence personal choices to develop an effective leadership style as a technology manager.
• Introduction
• Managers and Leaders
• Leadership Traits
• Military Leadership
• Women and Leadership
• Servant leadership
• Corporate Cultures
• Lessons from the Real World
Duration = 16 hours

Janice N. Tolk, Ph. D.
Janice N. Tolk, Ph.D. is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the University of Tennessee Space Institute and the Managing Partner of Windswept Plains Consulting, LLC. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky and Masters of Engineering and Doctor of Philosophy in Systems and Engineering Management degrees from Texas Tech University. Dr. Tolk spent her engineering career at the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas where she served in a variety of engineering design, management, and leadership positions, thus gaining a wide range of experience managing professionals in technical organizations. After leaving the Pantex Plant, Dr. Tolk entered academia and taught in engineering management programs for the past twelve years. Her teaching focus is leadership for technical professionals, strategic management, and managing change in technical organizations. In addition to teaching, she consults with a variety of industries on High Reliability Organization (HRO) theory and practice and serves on the Board of Directors of High Reliability Summits, LLC.

Course Date:      September 17-18, 2019

Course Fee:        $2,495

Spaceflight Dynamics:  Trajectory Analysis and Design, Trajectory Optimization, Vehicle Ascent and Landing Dynamics, Orbital Maneuvers, Lunar and Interplanetary Mission Design, Flight Dynamics in Planetary Atmospheric and Gravitational Fields, Gravity Assist Maneuvers, Application of Optimal Low-Thrust Propulsion (including solar-sail and electric propulsion systems), Application of Chaotic Trajectory Mechanisms, Review of Analytical and Computational Tools, Demonstration of the Tools by Means of Case Studies

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The University of Tennessee is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.