Master's degree theses

NOTE: In order to apply for any of the following theses or internships, the candidate must have no more than 3 exams left.

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Implementation of test setup for S-band antenna performances evaluation

Alma Mater Ground Station is provided with a 3m dish antenna for communication in S-band frequencies. The antenna has been implemented in order to allow high-rate payloads data download from LEO micro-satellites.

Dish antennas provide high gains as compared to other type of antennas as yaghi or patch antennas, but at the same time require a very precise pointing due to limited beamwidth.

The antenna system has been tested during operations of ESEO missions without success, probably due to high pointing error.

In this framework, the student should implement a test setup aimed at verifying the real-time pointing of the antenna while tracking a LEO satellite. The setup should be implemented by connecting an Inertial Measurement Unit to an Arduino Uno unit installed on the antenna in order to read in real time antenna pointing values.

The main tasks the student is expected to perform are:

  • Familiarize with the basic theories behind antenna tracking and antenna control systems.
  • Familiarize with Arduino programming environment.
  • Implement the algorithms required for converting the IMU measurements into Azimuth-Elevation readings.
  • Define the IMU calibration procedure and the antenna test procedure.
  • Perform the test of the antenna with the implemented set-up while tracking a LEO satellite.
  • Analyse the tests results.

Number of students required1 student.

Requirements:

  • Basic knowledge of at least 1 programming language and willingness to improve it.
  • Attended and passed: Controlli Automatici
  • Attending ‘Satelliti e Missioni Spaziali’ and/or attended “Fondamenti di Meccanica Orbitale”

COLLISION AVOIDANCE – SPACE DEBRIS

Efficient algorithms for large scale MOID computation on embedded hardware

A board for autonomous spacecraft collision avoidance (COLA) is currently being designed at the u3S laboratory. As part of the COLA process, the spacecraft hosting the board shall be capable of performing a preliminary screening of possible close encounters with the many existent resident space objects (RSO), based on the minimum orbital intersection distance (MOID). Several methods have been proposed in the literature for accomplish this task, with different levels of accuracy and computational burden.

Through the thesis work, the candidate will assess and critically compare some of the existing MOID algorithms, for selecting the one more suitable for an onboard implementation on embedded hardware, trading-off between computational burden and accuracy of the computation. Towards this end, the research project will encompass at least the following steps

  • Literature review and pre-selection of candidate algorithms for MOID computation.
  • Implementation of a Matlab simulator for creating an orbital scenario including the main spacecraft plus hundreds/thousands of RSO considered as possible collision threats.
  • Integration of the pre-selected algorithms in the simulator for computing the MOID between the main spacecraft and each of the RSOs
  • Comparison of the algorithms in terms of accuracy and computational speed, and selection of a best one.
  • Implementation of the selected algorithm on embedded hardware (e.g. raspberry PI or Arduino).

Number of students required

  • 1 Student

Requirements:

  • Attended and passed ‘Spacecraft Orbital Dynamics and Control’
  • Good mathematical and programming skills

Contacts

Prof. Alfredo Locarini

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

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Available by appointment

Prof. Dario Modenini

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

+39 0543 374 450

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Available by appointment

Prof. Paolo Tortora

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

+39 0543 374456

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Available by appointment