Open projects

SPRING 2020 projects

If you have any question or need more information, please contact Candice Norhadian

Active Debris Removal

Creation of an image database for spacecraft relative navigation for uncooperative debris removal

Supervisor: eSpace (Simon Bothner, Bastien Gorret)
Type of project: Semester or Minor project, 1 student
Recommended: Interest in imaging optics, robotics, experimental setups (ME, MT, Robotics, PHYS)

Description

In the scope of debris removal missions, relative navigation to allow the servicing spacecraft to capture the targeted debris is a critical technology. Given the uncooperative rendezvous scenario such mission presents, it is required to precisely estimate
the relative pose (attitude and position) of the target. To do so, a possible pose estimation scenario makes use of deep learning algorithms and images of the target in various spectra.

Appropriate design of such methods requires an extensive database of images for training and testing purposes.

The goal of this project will be to work on an existing test-bed that allows the generation of images under representative illumination conditions and generate an image data set.

The focus should be on improving the current measurements of the ground truth, adding additional features to the test, such as realistic earth backgrounds to the pictures and perform a data acquisition campaign with sensors such as visible and infra-red cameras.

You will:

  • Review existing documentation and test materials
  • Understand the test processes and underlying materials
  • Improve pose measurements
  • Evaluate and add earth background
  • Capture and post-process the data set with a set of different sensors

Radiation and space environment analysis

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald, Bastien Gorret)
Type of the project: Semester or  Minor Project, 1 student
Recommended: PHYS, EE

Description

Active debris removal is a novel type of mission, and so requires rigorous assessment for space environment effects. The objective of this project is to analyze the space environment for the mission, in order to generate requirements. The initial focus will be radiation and spacecraft charging, but time permitting other environmental effects for this mission, or mission type will be considered. Radiation analysis will feed into redundancy design and component selection, considering the potential single points of failure.

Spacecraft charging may be an issue, notably when passing through auroral regions – which are debris hot spots. Time permitting, analyses considering long-term servicing missions and servicing missions in GEO will be considered.

System-level safety for active debris removal missions

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald, Bastien Gorret)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 2 students
Recommended: Interest in systems engineering and/or safety (STI/PHYS)

Description

Active debris removal 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 the system 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.

  • Review existing documentation and test materials
  • Perform systems safety analysis (STPA) on active debris removal mission
  • Generate safety requirements
  • (Time permitting) perform holistic safety analysis for generic satellite in rbital environment, generate requirements

Simulator Module for Satellite Test-Bench

Supervisor: eSpace (Michaël Juillard)
Type of the project: Semester or Minor Project 1-2 students
Recommended: IC, SysCom, EE, MT (C++, Eclipse)

Description

The objective of the work is to design a module for satellite simulator (simTG). The simulator has already been used extensively for the development, testing and validation of various satellite in industry. The simulator is entirely developed in C++ and a model of an earth observation satellite is already present. In order to further develop the provided model, it is important to actualize and adapt it for the need of an ADR (Active Debris Removal) mission. The goal is to start the implementation of the various module such as the processing unit or the sensors handler. (The exact module will be defined with the student) The module will need to physical represent the future hardware unit and interact with the rest of the simulation. In the end, the module will communicate with the satellite processor and should be controlled with simulated ground control.

  • Review of the testbench
  • Familiarization with SimTG and the eclipse environment
  • Review of the requirements for the module
  • Implementation of the module in the simulator
  • Test and analyze the interaction with the processor board
  • Verification of the model implemented

Sustainable Space Logistics

Strategic Planning for Space Sector Futures & Logistics

Supervisor: eSpace (Marc-Andre Chavy-Macdonald)
Type of the project: Minor Project, 1 student
Recommended: This project is suitable for students interested in technology management and strategic planning, as a secondary interest. Wide-ranging interests are an asset

Description

The objective of this project is to help drive strategic discussion on future technologies and dynamics in Sustainable Space Logistics. The main tools used will be Stakeholder Value Networks and Scenario Planning (formalized by Schwartz). Scenario Planning creates several vivid, insightful, well-researched “histories of the future” to allow interpolation and preparation for most futures. A key element is the imaginativeness and gravitas of the stakeholders involved, and their buy-in. The student will help plan & prepare scenario planning workshops, carrying out structured data gathering and integration. Tasks also include scenario writing from workshop outputs and later analyses. Scenarios will map futures of the space sector, their impact on space logistics, and influence from the wider society. They will help answer the key question “what might plausibly happen in space logistics in 10-20 years?” Ideally, the student will help facilitate strategic workshop(s) having real implications on space research planning, for senior executives.

  • Learn and deploy Scenario Planning on a test case
  • Gather information from key stakeholders for the future space sector
  • Gather and capture data on futures, future technologies, societal trends
  • Perform scenarios session with EPFL team
  • Analyze results, generate full scenarios, implications, recommendations, signposts
  • Present result in workshop with external stakeholders

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)

Description

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 – and mining technologies. This comprises technico-economic modeling at large scales, with key identified stakeholders, and the creation of an online model which can showcase eSpace thinking. The model can then drive discussion and planning of the future cis-Lunar ecosystem, and its attendant logistics.

  • Sensitivity analysis of current model and value-of-information calculation for extension option
  • 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

Analogies between terrestrial and space logistics

Supervisor: eSpace (Sonia Ben Hamida)
Type of the project: Minor Project, 1 student
Recommended: interest in optimization

Description

In recent years, the space industry has undergone profound changes. The drop in launch costs has been driven by numerous start-ups following the path of SpaceX in the launch industry. These new actors, in particular, SpaceX and Blue Origin, work tirelessly to effect a transformation in the space industry similar to that which occurred previously in the aviation industry. Moving from single-use to reusable rockets which only require inspection between launches was a risky decision, but it has been vindicated by the significant reduction in the cost of access to space. Many new launchers intend to, and will, make space more accessible than ever before.
At the same time, small and nanosatellite formats and the standardization and industrialization of the production of satellites enable new innovative business models and missions. The space industry has evolved towards the predominantly commercial operation.

Objectives

What are the analogies between Logistics and Supply Chain Management on Earth and in Space? What Logistics and Supply Chain Management’s principles, lessons learnt and design practices are transposable to the development of Space Logistics infrastructures?

Resources

Development of a Space Logistics Optimization Tool to Support Decision-Making for Technology Roadmapping

Supervisor: eSpace (Sonia Ben Hamida, Bastien Gorret)
Type of the project: Minor or Master Project, 1-2 students
Recommended: interest in Python and optimization

Description

In recent years, the space industry has undergone profound changes. The drop in launch costs has been driven by numerous start-ups following the path of SpaceX in the launch industry. These new actors, in particular, SpaceX and Blue Origin, work tirelessly to effect a transformation in the space industry similar to that which occurred previously in the aviation industry. Moving from single-use to reusable rockets which only require inspection between launches was a risky decision, but it has been vindicated by the significant reduction in the cost of access to space. Many new launchers intend to, and will, make space more accessible than ever before. At the same time, small and nanosatellite formats and the standardization and industrialization of the production of satellites enable new innovative business models and missions. The space industry has evolved towards the predominantly commercial operation.

Objectives

The goal is to introduce specific tools to structure and allow the optimization of space logistics missions. So that it will be possible to issue a generic scenario and then prioritize it among the others so that could be possible to anticipate the technology and be ready when there is the need to propose a solution on the market.

  • Characterize the space logistics scenarios
    • Characterize the demand side: the performances expected by the customers
    • Characterize the supply side: List the main space logistics service providers (launcher providers, landers, etc.)
    • Match the servicers with the demand requests.
    • Define the KPIs (Key Performance Indicators).
  • Model mathematically the demand and supply sides
    • Design the modules in Python.
    • Describe the assumptions (the domain of validity) and algorithms, and limitations.
    • Validate the software on validation use cases.
    • Document the use of the software (user interface).
  • Automatically rank the space logistics alternatives and provide recommendations
    • Automatically pre-select the best alternatives with regard to the KPIs, using the developed tool.
    • Identify the limitations of mathematical simplifications.
    • Assess the robustness of the selected alternatives by performing sensitivity analyses.

EPFL Spacecraft Team direct contact [email protected]

EPFL Spacecraft Team

The EPFL Spacecraft Team

The goal of the EPFL Spacecraft Team is to run space missions for In Orbit Demonstrations and In Orbit Validations of swiss scientific instruments referred to as payloads. The mission includes to design, build, test, launch and operate a satellite which integrates the scientific instruments.

The first mission: CHESS

CHESS (Constellation of High Energy Swiss Satellites) was born in eSpace in february 2019. The goal is to launch a constellation of 4 satellites in Low Earth Orbit to study high energy astrophysics. The four identical CubeSats will be loaded with a hard X-ray Compton polarimeter as main payload and will fly around Earth on a low sun synchronous orbit. A strong collaboration at a national-scale with other swiss universities, Hochschulen, and research institutes is to be expected.

The constellation will operate during three years with a triple objective:

  • permanent monitoring of the full sky for hard X-ray transient gamma ray bursts
  • permanent observation of the sun in hard X-rays energies
  • observation of space weather events, electrons protons and heavy ions

These observations will be used both for space industry applications and for scientific research (data correlation with other missions such as Solar Orbiter and LIGO-Virgo gravitational wave observatories).
For the next semester (Spring 2020) we are recruiting students from both Bachelor and Master. We have two types of open positions:

  • Semester project for master – Credited and for 1 semester. Students who can stay one more semester after its project as part of the association have priority
  • Association project – Not credited and for 2 semesters. Open to both bachelor and master

Spring 2020 – Open positions for semester projects

Pole: Structure and configuration – Thermal study for CubeSat

Supervisor: TBD
Type of the project: semester project (bachelor and master)
Resources: 1 student for semester project + 1 in association
Recommended: STI

Description

The thermal control subsystem is one of the critical systems of almost any
spacecraft, as it is responsible to guarantee that all the spacecraft’s temperature is within a predefined range. This range is dictated by the requirements and constraints of the individual spacecraft components, considering all operational modes and environments that the spacecraft might be exposed to. Besides respecting a given range of temperatures to operate in, the spacecraft should also limit the temperature gradients. Otherwise, it could lead to reduced efficiencies and/or lifetime of the
components, equipment malfunction, structure deformations or even total mission failure.

Objectives

  • Determine the operational conditions
  • Analyse thermal behavior of all subsystems
  • Use the Finite Element Method and constitute a thermal model of the whole satellite
  • Propose solutions to control the temperature of the CubeSat (design of the thermal control subsystem)

Pole: Power System – Design and integration of the Electrical Power System on a CubeSat

Supervisor: Drazen Dujic or Olatz Arriana (Power Electronics Laboratory – PEL)
Type of the project: association and semester project (bachelor and master)
Resources: 2 students for semester project + 1/2 in association
Recommended: STI

Description

The role of the EPS is to gather the energy from the solar panels and redistribute it
to the different subsystems (ADCS, OBC, GNSS, transceiver, payloads, antennas,
EDU, battery, thermal system) in the most robust and energy-efficient way. In fall
2019, three students came up with a first choice for the EDU, battery, solar panel.
The objective is now to interface the different components of the EPS together and
integrate them inside the satellites, while looking at the power budget.

Objectives

  • Battery dimensioning
  • Present a final power budget (with the concept of operation as main input)
  • Suggest an architecture for the redundancy of the EPS:
  • latch up protection
  • robustness in case some solar panels are down
  • Draw the flat-sat for the Preliminary Design Review
  • Plan the test phase of all the electronics of the satellite

Pole: OBC and Flight Software – Characterization of the On Board Computer and its Flight Software

Supervisor: TBD
Type of the project: association and semester project
Resources: 1 student for semester project + 1/2 in association
Recommended: Computer and communication science

Description

The OBC is the brain of the satellite. It has a central role to control the other
subsystems, grant or deny their access to power, create the log report for the
mission operations, prepare the data transmitted from and to the communication
subsystem. You will face constraints linked to reliability, maintenance, sizing and
power delivery. Since it is the first project concerning the OBC at EPFL Spacecraft
Team, the objective is to characterize the needs of this subsystem and suggest a
version 1 in June. It is likely that the OBC will be bought and adapted to our mission.

Objectives

  • Explore and determine the requirements for the OBC software in order for it to
    meet the requirements for the CHESS mission
  • Search for different types of software, hardware architectures, evaluate their
    strengths and weaknesses, and present a first choice for the CHESS mission

Pole: OBC and Flight Software – Characterization of the On Board Computer and its Flight Software

Supervisor: TBD
Type of the project: association and semester project
Resources: 1 student for semester project + 1/2 in association
Recommended: Computer and communication science

Description

The OBC is the brain of the satellite. It has a central role to control the other
subsystems, grant or deny their access to power, create the log report for the
mission operations, prepare the data transmitted from and to the communication
subsystem. You will face constraints linked to reliability, maintenance, sizing and
power delivery. Since it is the first project concerning the OBC at EPFL Spacecraft
Team, the objective is to characterize the needs of this subsystem and suggest a
version 1 in June. It is likely that the OBC will be bought and adapted to our mission.

Objectives

  • Explore and determine the requirements for the OBC software in order for it to meet the requirements for the CHESS mission
  • Search for different types of software, hardware architectures, evaluate their
    strengths and weaknesses, and present a first choice for the CHESS mission

Spring 2020 – Open positions in the association

Pole: Communication

Association, 2-3 students

Objectives

  • Set the communication strategy
  • Events organisation
  • Communication on social networks
    • Write articles for the press and sponsors
    • Posts about news about similar missions
    • Posts about team meetings
    • Posts about conferences/workshops
    • Webmaster (wordpress)
  • Communication intern to EPFL (+ partners, e.g. HES Luzern )
    • EPFL magazine
    • Make a video for the team
    • Organize recruitment
  • Bring your own ideas (e.g. radio, TV)

Pole: Sponsoring/Partnership coordinator

Association, 3 students

Objectives

  • Design a sponsorship proposal
  • Investigate new sponsoring opportunities
  • Maintain relationships with external companies who are interested in sponsoring us
  • Eventually, present the association at events and meetings

Pole: Treasury

Association, 1 students

Objectives

  • Keep count of all expenses, evaluate costs and organize the budget of the mission
  • He/she will communicate with all the subgroups to understand their needs and how much we can actually allocate on each subsystem

Pole: System engineering

Association project, 1 student per subpole, i.e. 6 students in total (bachelor or master)

Objectives

  • Follow up all the projects linked to your pole, separate tasks and organize meetings
  • Contact other missions to get their input about the part you are managing

Note

  • You can be pole manager and do a project inside the pole
  • You will get strong support from the core team (Nicolas Martinod, Tristan Trébaol, Alfonso Villegas) – at least at the beginning

If you have any question or need more information, please contact Candice Norhadian