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PhD Space Robotics and GNC of Space Systems

   School of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing (SATM)

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  Dr Leonard Felicetti  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a 3 year PhD studentship in Space Engineering, at Cranfield University, in the field of Space Robotics. The project will aim to develop technologies and algorithms enabling autonomous on-orbit robotic proximity operations.

Proximity operations, rendezvous manoeuvres and robotic manipulations are envisaged as required operations to enable on-orbit servicing, refuelling or rescuing missions, as well as active debris removal missions in the near future. This project will focus on GNC/robotic technologies and algorithms enabling autonomous and complex robotic operations in orbit. The utilization of autonomous algorithms, machine learning and other AI techniques can provide a distinctive advantage in terms of cost and reliability. Possible applications span from autonomous rendezvous, visual/lidar based relative navigation, collision avoidance, to on-orbit manipulation, servicing, and manufacturing.

The successful PhD candidate will be based at Cranfield University. Upon successful completion of the PhD, the candidate will be able to carry out research activities independently as well as in collaboration with other research centres. The candidate will build a strong background in proximity operations and space robotics, with applications spanning from active debris removal to on-orbit manufacturing and servicing.

Entry requirements

Applicants shall have experience in space dynamics and control, attitude and orbit control systems, estimation theory and Kalman filters, visual based navigation, and space robotics. Experience in computer programming (e.g. Python, C++) and relevant engineering software (e.g., MATLAB/Simulink, STK, GMAT, ROS/Gazebo) is an essential asset. Hand in experience with embedded systems (e.g. Nvidia Jetson) and relevant AOCS/Robotics hardware is preferred. Applicants should demonstrate proficiency in technical writing and a track record with publications in well-recognized journals and conferences is preferred.

Funding Notes

Sponsored by Cranfield University, this studentship will provide a bursary up to £18,000 (tax free) plus fees* for three years
To be eligible for this funding, applicants must be EU or UK national. We require that applicants are under no restrictions regarding how long they can stay in the UK
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