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Bounded stability of orbital motion around minor bodies


Project Description

Explorations of minor bodies have attracted lots of attention, in terms of their scientific and resource values, and also human safety concerns. One challenge for the mission design is to identify the stable motion of the spacecraft (s/c) in the highly perturbed and uncertain dynamical environment. To meet the practical mission requirements, this project addresses the practical stability of motion around minor bodies (asteroids or comets) considering uncertainties of both the spacecraft’s state and the model parameters e.g. the mass of the asteroid, rotation errors, etc. The algebraic methods will be applied to propagate both the trajectory and the uncertainties, and the bounds of the state flow will be evaluated along the propagation. How this practical stability region will contribute to the robustness mission design needs to be explored. A software tool will be developed for systematic analysis. Therefore, By finishing this project, the student is expected to gain expertise in minor body explorations, uncertainty quantification, modeling and solving highly non-linear dynamics, robustness analysis, programming and software development, etc.

In addition, the student will get the opportunities to work at the Europe Space Agency (ESA) for about half a year as collaboration and a secondment at the GNC section of Deimos Space for about two months. All these travels will be covered by this funding. Moreover, the student can also evolve into the Stardust-R project, which is Marie-Curie Innovative Training Network and evolves professors, researchers and PhDs across Europe on specific topics about asteroids exploration/deflection and space debris removal.

Proposed Start Date: 1 April 2020

Funding Notes

The 3 year scholarship will cover Home/EU tuition fees, and provide a total stipend of approx. £15,500 (for academic year 2019/20, subject to increase), and will be paid monthly.

Applicants should preferably hold, or obtain first-class honors or equivalent, preferably in mechanical/aerospace engineering, or applied mathematics

Programming skills in Matlab or Python, C++ or Fortran, etc

This project is funded by the Europe Space Agency (ESA) and the University of Strathclyde.

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