PhD candidate in Systems Engineering / Mission Design for Extremely Small Spacecraft

Updated: about 24 hours ago
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You will join the new Space Systems Engineering group. Together, we will design breakthrough space systems and cutting-edge systems engineering methods within the highly dynamic and rapidly growing Luxembourg space ecosystem. The PhD will be in the following topic:

  • Systems Engineering for Extremely Small Spacecraft

The miniaturization of space systems is continuing, with CubeSats as the most important category of miniaturized space systems. Most recently, even smaller spacecraft have appeared, which are gram-scale and the size of a credit card and even smaller, so-called ChipSats or AttoSats. These spacecraft are expected to enable unprecedented missions such as distributed swarm sensor networks and rapid technology testing in space. Due to their small size, low development and launch cost, they also change the paradigm of spacecraft development. Instead of years, these spacecraft can be developed within months, at a cost of a few hundred Euros. Their launch in large numbers also allows for massive redundancy and iterative flight testing of designs. However, currently existing systems engineering and mission design approaches are not well-adapted to exploit these properties.

The main objective of this thesis is to develop a systems engineering approach for very small spacecraft (ChipSats / AttoSats) to exploit the advantages that such small-scale space systems provide during development and the mission itself. This objective requires the execution of the following subtasks:

  • Survey the existing literature on ChipSats / AttoSats, small spacecraft development systems engineering and mission design approaches;
  • Development of a tailored systems engineering / mission design approach for the development of ChipSat / AttoSat missions, built on their unique properties;
  • Hands-on end-to-end development a ChipSat / AttoSat mission;
  • Validation of the approach via the ChipSat / AttoSat mission and prototypes for testing on balloons or sounding rockets.

You will conduct your work in collaboration with major space companies and universities. The thesis work is expected to be conducted within a duration of 36 to 48 months from start to thesis defense. We provide opportunities and support for career development.

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