On the 12th of February, Matteo Romano had his PhD Defence at Politecnico di Milano, where he successfully defended his PhD thesis “Orbit propagation and uncertainty modelling for planetary protection compliance verification”. The subject of this work is the development of new numerical techniques to improve the tools currently employed in planetary protection analysis for interplanetary missions, focusing on: accurate orbital propagation, via the identification of fly-bys during the integration of the trajectory; efficient sampling of initial uncertainties to verify small impact probabilities within high confidence levels, by applying the Line Sampling method; and the direct study of the evolution of uncertainties during the propagation.
During the last three years, Matteo has spent one year at ESA’s European Space Operations Centre (ESOC) across various visiting periods, attended several international conferences, and gave several presentations, along a journey he found to be difficult but rewarding.
Matteo thanks his supervisor Prof. Camilla Colombo and Politecnico di Milano for giving him this opportunity and the COMPASS project for supporting him during this journey. He would like to thank Mr. José Manuel Sánchez Pérez as well, for the guidance he provided during his visiting periods in ESOC, and Prof. Giacomo Tommei and Prof. Kleomenis Tsiganis for taking the time to review his work and for giving him meaningful feedback.