Open projects

AUTUMN 2020

(Contact Candice Norhadian for any inquiries)

1. System-level safety for ClearSpace-1

Supervisor: eSpace + ClearSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald, Bastien Gorret)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 1 student
Recommended: interest in systems engineering and/or safety (STI/PHYS)

ClearSpace is fundamentally about space safety; it is thus essential that its own operations are safe. Traditional system safety approaches are usually based on component failures; yet increasingly accidents are due to “system-level” interactions or software/operator errors, resulting from increased complexity. STAMP (Systems-Theoretic Accident Model and Processes) is a new method which overcomes these difficulties using systems thinking, and can directly generate design requirements. This project will be to perform a systems safety analysis of CleanSpace-1 and its operations. Time permitting, the analysis will be extended to cover general recommendations, requirements, and metrics for sustainable planning of satellite end-of-life.

  • Learn STPA & perform it on a test case.
  • Perform systems safety analysis (STPA) on ClearSpace-1.
  • Generate safety requirements.
  • (Time permitting) Perform holistic safety analysis for generic satellite in orbital environment, generate requirements.

2. Mission analysis and sequencing for the purpose of Active Debris Removal

Supervisor: eSpace + ClearSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald, Bastien Gorret)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 1 student
Recommended: interest in data analysis, space mission analysis and orbital dynamics (Space Mission Design and operations or Spacecraft Design and System Engineering courses)

This project is made in collaboration with the ClearSpace startup. Active Debris Removal of failed satellites benefits from the servicing of multiple satellites per mission to reduce cost. The planning of such a multi-client mission is a complex endeavor than needs to account for orbital dynamics and the capabilities of the servicer. The idea of the project is to identify from a list of debris the most interesting sequences of removals. This project is a continuation of previous projects. One aspect previously tackled is the setup of a tool able to quickly simulate missions and model associated cost. The second aspect is the comparison of different optimization methods applicable to the problem. The main objective for this project would be to integrate the previous work and establish additional methods required to perform the analysis, then apply the method on the capabilities of the ClearSpace servicer.

  • Get familiar with optimization methods 
  • Get familiar with relevant orbital dynamics and mission analysis tools
  • Trade-off ways to down-select sets of targets starting from all debris in Low Earth Orbit
  • Propose an approach to solve the travelling salesman problem on the down-selected debris
  • Trade-off parameters of the mission

1. System Dynamics Modeling of the Space Logistics Ecosystem

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 1-2 students
Recommended: interest in Systems Thinking and Engineering, modeling, and socio-economic dynamics as well as technology (STI/PHYS/CDM).

A System Dynamics model of the nascent Lunar resources industry has been developed with the company ispace Inc., allowing some insight into its possible evolutions. This project aims to extend the model and improve its fidelity for high-priority areas. These include sources of demand – government exploration programs and eventually satellite refuelling & telecom industry dynamics – and mining technologies. This comprises technico-economic modeling at large scales, with key identified stakeholders. An online simulator interface has been developed to showcase eSpace thinking; model improvements will thus aim for wider scrutiny & public exposure. The model can then drive discussion and planning of the future cis-Lunar ecosystem and space industry, and their attendant logistics.

  • Sensitivity analysis of the current model and value-of-information calculation for extension options.
  • Creation of functional breakdowns and interaction networks for model extensions.
  • Consulting with key stakeholders, creation of System Dynamics model.
  • Populating and validation of the SD model with data and uncertainties.
  • Global Sensitivity Analysis and other analytics to derive insights

2. Development of space logistics optimization tool to support decision-making for technology roadmapping

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 1 student
Recommended: interest in modeling, Python, and optimization (STI/PHYS).

Modelling tools are needed to assess new material flows in space: optimizing orbital trajectories and spacecraft subsystems to improve volumes and timelines of payload deployments. This is useful for technology roadmapping, for example by the European Space Agency (ESA). ESA has requested tools to deploy in real-time planning workshops.

EPFL Space Center currently has a tool able to partially optimize orbital transfers, propellant and spacecraft subsystem mass for (1) constellation debris removal and (2) Lunar exploration missions. It needs to be broadened to new use cases, including on-orbit servicing. It also needs a full optimizer to consider different orderings of orbital segments, and more rapid and reliable convergence. Finally, it also needs analysis & implications of results to be relatively automated (including in real-time).  This project is thus Python development of a tool computing and optimizing trajectories, propellant, & subsystem design for a given mass/payload and destination. It will contribute to our understanding of novel space logistics flows & their impact, and to future technology & mission selection. Tasks will include obtaining data on specific assessment needs from ESA, creating Python modules representing new mission & vehicle types, and work on optimization and analytics.

3. Market analysis for space logistics

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-André Chavy-Macdonald, Emmanuelle David)
Type of project: Semester or Minor project, 1-2 students
Recommended: This project is suitable for students interested in technology management and strategic planning, as a secondary interest. Wide-ranging interests are an asset

This project is part of a study for the European Space Agency. The aim of the study is to provide recommendations to the ESA FLPP team regarding current space transportation capabilities in two market segments:

  1. On-orbit servicing
  2. Constellation deployment/renewal

EPFL will rely on its in-house logistics modelling tool (TCAT), further develop modules for this project, and run a set of simulations to provide recommendations on logistics scenarios. To populate the simulations, data will be gathered through a market analysis.

The objective of this project is to assess the market for the 2 segments listed above. Data on the current logistics providers and customer demand are necessary to have solid space logistics scenarios and recommendations. Using expert reports, internal data, publicly-available information, and possibly interviews, you will study the different market segments and extract data to feed into our models. You will work with an engineer and scientist from eSpace on this project, and be in contact with the European Space Agency.

You will:

  • Assess the evolving space transportation market, especially the “payload on-orbit servicing” and “constellation deployment/renewal” segments. For each segment you will:
  • Assess: the various market sub-segments, key actors (institutional & commercial), market drivers linked to key service metrics (e.g. orbit, payload mass and type of P/L, type of service, year of launch, accessibility (vs. captive payload/service)), and a “credibility” factor (representing the likelihood of the payload/service from technical and commercial perspectives)
  • Assess space transportation annual revenues by segment up to 2028, by orbit and type of service (including launch and any other complementary space transportation service)
  • Assess price/cost ranges to deliver the different space transportation services (e.g. launch service plus any other space transportation service price, e.g.: launcher + space tug service, or space tug alone if reused, etc….)
  • Position the European space transportation solutions within this survey and provide a benchmark analysis to support the space logistics scenarios selection. Benchmarking activities should be carried out limiting the scope to a few launchers and spacecraft that are suitable with collected user requirements.

TBD

More information about the CHESS mission >> HERE

1. Thermal Analysis/Thermal Control of the CubeSat

Supervisor: TBC
Type of project: Semester project, 1 student
Recommended: STI section and others

The satellite is subject to multiple sources of heat and radiations, having a direct influence and impact on the progress of the mission. The project aims at analyzing the thermal behavior of all the systems of the satellite: dependencies between subsystems, interaction with outer
space, temperature requirement, etc.
A first approach has been created on Matlab with the ode45 integrator. The thermal design must then be studied in accordance with the thermal analysis : whether some parts of the satellite must be heated or cooled.

You will:

  • Check all subsystems thermal requirements
  • Model precisely the satellite on a Finite-Element software (ANSYS,
    Thermica..) taking into account the power consumption, orbit parameters…
  • Compare with the existing simulation on Matlab
  • Choose the appropriate coatings/heating/cooling devices for every subsystem in the satellite

2. EPS (Electrical Power System) Testing and State of Charge Estimation

Supervisor: TBC
Type of project: Semester project, 1 student
Recommended: STI section, background in microcontrollers, electronic basis, coding skills (mainly for programming microcontrollers,
C/C++)

After extensive research and simulations on CHESS’s power generation and consumption, a COTS EPS has been selected and should be in our hands by September 2020. Being a vital element to the system, it is important to test the board, the batteries and the solar panel deployment system to make sure everything is well configured and ready to fly.
You’ll be in touch with all of the other subsystems to try and simulate their power needs and test if the board and batteries distribute energy correctly and efficiently. Finally an estimation of State of Charge for the batteries should be made to ensure that the system lasts the full 2 years of
the Mission.

You will:

  • Estimate State of Charge of Batteries for Battery monitoring
  • Finalize and Confirm Power simulations
  • Test the Power Distribution Board of the EPS
  • Test the Batteries of on the EPS
  • Discussions and work with the rest of the team to keep the system up to date

A complete and detailed list of the projects is available  >> HERE

More projects on >> ASCLEPIOS
Contact Elfie Roy for more information and details

1. APP EVA

Section: IN, SC
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Bachelor

The goal of this project is to develop a mobile device application that could be used by astronauts during EVA. It should allow them to check instructions, their tool list, etc.

2. REDMARS

Section: CGC, SIE, or any interested
Number of students: 1 or 2 students
Level: Bachelor, Master

Creating a sustainable colony on Mars would require astronauts to grow their own food using Martian soil. However, its high perchlorate concentration makes it impossible to grow anything. Therefore, the goal of this project, designed by Gustavo Jamanca Lino (a Peruvian member of Asclepios), would be to establish an experiment protocol to remove perchlorate from soil samples. The project would consist, first, in working alongside Gustavo to set up the extraction protocol. Then, the student would have to teach the astronauts how to perform the experiment. Finally, the last phase would
be realized by the analog astronauts.

3. Platform for Mission Control Center

Section: IN, SC, MA, PH
Number of students: 2 students
Level: Bachelor, Master

The goal of this project would be two fold:

  • Developing a software for the Mission Control Center (MCC), which would contain everything we need during the mission: flight plans, procedures, communications between the different members of Mission Control as well as with the analog base
  • Developing an optimization algorithm for the flight plan: if one of the activities/experiments has to be cancelled or postponed because of the weather, or unforeseen events, the planning would automatically adapt taking into account all the other constraints.

4. Rover’s electronics

Section: EL, GM, MT
Number of students: 2 students
Level: end of Bachelor, Master

Rovers are cool. From Lunokhod to Perseverance, these loyal companions helped humanity to move further and further into space exploration. That’s why we want to build our very own rover for future Ascelpios’ missions. The key word in the design spirit here is: modularity.
The goal of this modular rover is to be a platform for future equipment, enabling us to explore a variety of different ConOps.

Your task will be to take care of the electronics inside the rover. From components selection, soldering, wire management, PCB design, power alimentation, integration, debugging, C/C++ coding, this project will make you go through a whole electronical design on an actual Rover that will be used in the Asclepios mission.
The main challenges will be to be able to interface all the different elements to the microcontroller, the brain of our rover.
We are looking for a passionate, motivated and autonomous student that will help us bring our baby alive!
Join us for an exciting adventure, your first step to the (analog) moon!

5. Rover’s software

Section: IN SC
Number of students: 1 student
Level: end of Bachelor, Master

Rovers are cool. From Lunokhod to Perseverance, these loyal companions helped humanity to move further and further into space exploration. That’s why we want to build our very own rover for future Ascelpios’ missions. The key word in the design spirit here is: modularity.
The goal of this modular rover is to be a platform for future equipment, enabling us to explore a variety of different ConOps

Your task will be to take care of the coding and the software guiding the rover. From telecommunication, C/C++, Python, this project will make you go through a whole software design on an actual Rover that will be used in the Asclepios mission.
The main challenges will be to be able to communicate efficiently from the moon base to the rover.
We are looking for a passionate, motivated and autonomous student that will help us bring our baby alive!
Join us for an exciting adventure, your first step to the (analog) moon!

6. Secured data management & transmission

Section: SC, IN
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

The student would have to design a system that allows for the management of different kind of information:

  • Personal/private information
  • Crucial/nonpublic information
  • Crucial/public information

Focus should be put on data integrity and these different levels of privacy.

7. Solar panels

Section: EL, MT, MX, SIE
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

The goal of this project is to develop a solar panel that could be used for space exploration. The semester project could consist in improving current solar panel to work on one or several of these features, essential for space exploration:

  • Easy to deploy for EVAs
  • Provide high performance and be linkable to the base / energy management
  • Be resistant to potentially extreme conditions (ex: small meteorites on the moon since very thin atmosphere, storms on mars, etc.)

8. Water potability test

Section: CGC, SIE
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

The goal of this project would be to develop a test to assess the potability of water drank by the astronauts.
A student could first try to create a mapping of the substances potentially dangerous that could arise from the water recycling process used during space missions; and then develop a test to identify one of them.
The test should be used by the astronauts during the mission. They would need to be previously trained to be able to run it.

9. Workout & diet

Section: SV, Faculté de Médecine (UNIL), Institut des Sciences du Sport (UNIL)
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

Being confined for an extended period of time generates a certain number of constraints to astronauts’ daily life, which should be taken into account to preserve their mental and physical health.
Therefore, this project aims at providing astronauts with a workout/diet plan that would be compatible with the mission.

  • Reviewing the literature to identify the optimal diet/workout practices used during space missions
  • Designing the diet/workout routines based on the literature review
  • Analyzing the impact of the routines on the astronaut’s health

10. Water management in closed loop

Section: CGC, PH, SIE
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

IManaging scarce resources will be a key success factor to sustainable human settlements on other celestial bodies. Therefore this project aims at designing a closed loop system that would collect and recycle the water consumed within the base

11. Wastewater Plants Treatment

Section: SIE, SV
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

In a space base, far from earth, resources will be scarce, and it is crucial to find new ways to valorise waste produced by the astronauts.
This project aims at using plants for water purification. Its benefits would be two-fold:

  • Providing a innovative & natural way to recycle water, a key resource to the astronauts’ survival;
  • Improving astronauts’ daily life, by providing an earth-life decor.

You will:

  • Studying the waste stabilization pond phenomenon;
  • Selecting suitable plants;
  • Create a system for N inputs of water (modulate) ;
  • Create the system for waste stabilization pond (phytoépuration).

12. Interior Space design

Section: AR
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Master

An important aspect to establishing permanent settlements on celestial bodies will be the time spent within the base by the astronauts. Therefore, it will be essential for the base to offer decent living conditions, i.e. allowing a small group of people to work and live together in a small space for an extended period of time, without impairing their mental health.

13. Smart Base

Section: AR, EL, IN, SC
Number of students: 1 student
Level: Bachelor

A wide range of parameters need to be taken into account to make the astronaut’s habitat safe, sustainable and comfortable. Therefore, the goal of this project would be to identify smart home applications that could be used in a space base.

The student would have to design a system aiming at saving energy inside the base. Asclepios I could be used to identify the energy needs of the base and elaborate recommendations. Subsequent Asclepios missions could implement those recommendations and measure the improvement