Theses and Internships

This page contains theses and intership available at the Microsatellites and Space Microsystems Laboratory. Please check the correct field (L/LM and Thesis/Intership) before contacting the referee

Laurea Triennale (BSc)

ATTITUDE DETERMINATION AND CONTROL SYSTEM (ADCS)

Attitude determination and control software development and experimental testing on real-time platform

Attitude determination and control algorithms must be verified by means of numerical simulations. However, for the experimental testing, the software developed in the environment such as Matlab/Simulink must translated into efficient embedded code. Dedicated software solutions can make the process faster thanks to real-time platforms/Matlab integration.

Through the thesis work, the candidate will:

  • Develop satellites control software in Simulink.
  • Study the Raspberry microcontroller / Simulink integration.
  • Experimentally test the developed software.

Number of students required: 1 bachelor student.

Requirements:

  • Attended and passed: Controlli Automatici
  • Attending ‘Satelliti e Missioni Spaziali’

3D printed air bearing for ADCS testing

The 3D printing techlogy becomes more capable. One of possible usage is rapid prototyping, for ad hoc mechnical parts production. In our laboratory, experimental testing involves different satellites and mechnical designs.

As part of the project, following tasks will be done:

  • Study of 3D printing technologies in combination with CNC and CAD.
  • Study of nanosatellites testing facility design.
  • Testing of developed platforms in distributed attitude control experiments.

 

Number of students required: 1 bachelor student.

Requirements:

  • Attended and passed: Controlli Automatici
  • Attending ‘Satelliti e Missioni Spaziali’

TELECOMMUNICATIONS

Algorithms for antenna tracking control

Having the antenna system correctly tracking a satellite, is a key factor in enhancing ground to space communications.

For LEO satellites, antenna pointing needs to change rapidly in order to track the fast-moving spacecrafts. When satellites reach high elevations over the ground station horizon, the tracking error may highly increase due to limited antenna rotor angular velocity, resulting in a decrement of RF link performances.

In this framework, the MicroSatellite and Space MycroSystems Lab is developing its own prediction and tracking software. The software currently implements an open loop antenna control logic.

The objectives of the thesis are:

  • review of the literature about algorithms allowing optimization of antenna tracking performances;
  • implementation of the chosen algorithms in a Python 3 application;
  • test and analysis of the algorithm performances in tracking LEO satellites

Number of students required: 1 bachelor student

Requirements:

  • attended and passed: Controlli Automatici
  • Willingness to learn new programming languages
  • Attending ‘Satelliti e Missioni Spaziali’ and/or attended “Fondamenti di Meccanica Orbitale”

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 required: 1 bachelor 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

User interface for Satellite collision simulation environment:

Space is becoming crowded and we are studying how to reliably predict collisions between satellites. The most powerful tool we have to asses our strategies (and performance in general) is computer simulation, e.g. Montecarlo. For this reason we are studying a simulator able to calculate collision probability given user defined starting conditions. Although we have a general block diagram for this simulator and implementation of few of the blocks, its full implementation is still pending. The candidate needs to firstly understand what is collision avoidance process, then contribute to the simulator defining/implementing the input and output interfaces. Specifically it needs to answer questions such as: What are the most powerful way of input the initial conditions? orbital elements? from GPS files like .sp3? then how and where can we find the uncertainty of those inputs? could it be useful to input instead the encounter geometry directly? How shall we present the results to the user?

Number of students required: 1 bachelor student.

Requirements:

  • Basic programming skills.
  • Willingness to learn about statistics
  • Following ‘Satelliti e Missioni Spaziali’ and/or followed “Fondamenti di Meccanica Orbitale” 

MACHINE LEARNING

CONSTELLATIONS DESIGN

Contact

Prof. Paolo Tortora

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

+39 0543 374456

Write an e-mail

Available by appointment.

Prof. Dario Modenini

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

+39 0543 374 450

Write an e-mail

Available by appointment

Prof. Alfredo Locarini

Via Fontanelle 40, 47121 Forlì (FC)

Write an e-mail

Available by appointment