It is very rare for a class to experience as rapid growth as ASTE 470: Spacecraft Propulsion. And hardly ever will you have such a knowledgeable and enthusiastic professor as Dr. Keith Goodfellow. Though this course is usually designated for Senior and Graduate standing, it is not unusual to see over a third of the class undergraduates ranging from Sophomores to Juniors. I did not understand what all the buzz was about until I actually took the course. Dr. Goodfellow is patient, but when given the opportunity, will fill your head with new knowledge. There is hardly a question that he will not have the answer to. Of the professors I have encountered, Dr. Goodfellow is one of the few who is willing and eager to help students understand a concept completely. He goes out of his way to make sure all material is available. And this is only the professor!
ASTE 470 elaborates on the previous ASTE 280 course I took and gave me more of the hard science and technical explanations behind propulsion. As I am currently taking the course, I must admit that I do enjoy this homework the most. Perhaps because the concepts align with what one can expect in reality to occur or simply because the course material is something I have not been exposed to prior to college. Of course it is always fun to say, “Why yes, this is indeed Rocket Science!” to your friends. Even though many of the advances of propulsion occurred in the 1960s, this course allows you to have a firm basis on industry standards, and the concepts you must know in order to begin designing, manufacturing, or testing any propulsion system.
Unfortunately for the upcoming generations of engineers to USC, they will not get the chance to have Dr. Goodfellow as a professor. He will taking up residency in Washington where he will be the Chief Engineer for Aerojet’s ArcJet program and Hall Thruster. As a propulsion professor I find this only fitting for him to “return home” to his career field. He will be greatly missed especially by the Rocket Lab that has relied on him on numerous occasions to assist in odds and end jobs or just being more prepared out in the desert. Though Dr. Goodfellow will no longer teach ASTE 470, he has left USC with an amazing course that will still be offered long after I graduate.
TL;DR Take ASTE 470 if you ever have the opportunity! Guarantee you will enjoy it and learn a thing or five!