Principal Investigator

  • Camilla ColomboAssociate Professor
    Principal Investigator
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    I am Associate Professor in Orbital Mechanics at Politecnico di Milano and Principal Investigator of the COMPASS project. Before that I was Associate Professor and Lecturer in Spacecraft Engineering at the University of Southampton in the Astronautics Research Group till Jul 2016. My research areas spaces among orbital dynamics, trajectory design and optimisation, dynamical system analysis and control, and space mission analysis and design. I am delegate for the Inter Agency Debris Coordination Committee and the UN mandated Space Mission Planning Advisory Group for mission to asteroids.
    My current research on orbital dynamics, space debris and asteroids was driven by the participation to research projects funded by the European Space Agency on the disposal of spacecraft in Medium Earth Orbit, the study of the effect of a spacecraft fragmentation in Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary orbit and the design of novel strategies for disposing the spacecraft orbiting in Highly Elliptical Orbits or at Libration Point Orbits. A study on the motion in vicinity of asteroids and ways to manipulate their orbits was also funded by the European Space Agency in the framework of the General Study Program.
    In 2013, I have been awarded a personal Intra-European Marie Curie grant from the European Commission within the Framework Program 7. This grant funded my two-year position as Marie Curie Fellow at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) on the project “Space Debris Evolution, Collision risk, and Mitigation” (SpaceDebECM).
    During my previous experience as Research Fellow at the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory at the University of Strathclyde (UK), between 2009 and 2012, I have led the development of the research theme on the orbital dynamics of micro-scale spacecraft (within a project funded by the European Research Council).
    I gained a Master degree in Aerospace Engineering from Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in 2005 and a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Glasgow (UK) in 2010, with a thesis on “Optimal Trajectory Design for Interception and Deflection of Near Earth Objects” funded by the EPSRC on “Optimal Interception and Deviation of Potentially Hazardous Near Earth Objects”.

Postdoctoral Researchers

  • Gabriella GaiasPostdoctoral ResearcherRead more
    I received both my MEng (2005) and PhD (2009) in Aerospace Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.
    Since 2009, I have been working as a Research Engineer in the Space Flight Technology Department at the DLR’s German Space Operations Center (GSOC). My working activities focus on development of AOCS/GNC algorithms, simulation systems, and flight software for formation-flying and proximity operations applications.
    I have been involved into the PRISMA formation-flying mission as flight operations GNC engineer and as experiment developer (ARGON – 2012). I acted as Principal Investigator for the AVANTI experiment – flown in late 2016 on the BIROS satellite – following its design, development, integration, and operation.
    I joined the ERC H2020 COMPASS project in April 2018.
  • Juan Luis Gonzalo GomezPostdoctoral ResearcherRead more
    I am a postdoctoral researcher at Politecnico di Milano, working on topics related to collision avoidance, asteroid deflection and space debris removal. My research interests also include orbit propagation and space trajectories design and optimization. On all these topics, I try to apply both numerical and analytical techniques, exploiting the synergies between them to get solutions that both provide physical insight and have practical applications. I also carry out teaching activities, collaborating in a Master’s-level Orbital Mechanics course and supervising visiting and master thesis students. I am actively involved in outreach activities, and firmly believe that scientific communication and engagement are key drivers for the advancement of society.
    Before joining the COMPASS team in early 2018 I was a PhD student at the Universidad Politecnica de Madrid (Spain), with a grant from the Spanish Ministry of Education. During that period, I also participated in several international projects, most notably the EU-funded FP7 project LEOWSEEP, seeking to advance a novel contactless active debris removal technology known as ion beam shepherd.
  • Ioannis GkoliasPostdoctoral ResearcherRead more
    I acquired my bachelor’s in physics and master’s in computational physics from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I obtained my PhD degree on applied mathematics in the University of Rome Tor Vergata. Currently I am a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology in Politecnico di Milano as part of the COMPASS group. My research interests include orbital dynamics, spin-orbit coupling and design of post-mission disposal manoeuvres. I am currently supported by the European Union funded projects ReDSHIFT and COMPASS.
  • Narcís Miguel BañosPostdoctoral ResearcherRead more
    My background is in mathematics. I studied the degree (Licenciatura), master, and Ph.D. in Mathematics at the University of Barcelona (Spain). The latter was done under the supervision of C. Simó and A. Vieiro. The thesis dealt with transport properties of low dimensional conservative systems. These systems are interesting because they are simplified models of problems, e.g., in Physics, Astronomy and Astrodynamics. After my Ph.D. I moved to the study of the dynamics of solar sails around the triangular libration points in the RTBP, and mission design related to them. I joined the COMPASS team in February 2018 as a Postdoctoral researcher, where I deal with problems concerning attitude dynamics.
  • Mirko TrisoliniPostdoctoral ResearcherRead more
    I am a Postdoctoral researcher at the Politecnico di Milano, where I am studying the application of a continuum-based propagation to space debris modelling and evolution, and re-entry simulations and predictions. My current work focuses on the analyses of the effects of uncertainties on the re-entry of spacecraft and asteroids. Alongside the research activities, I am involved in teaching activities of Mission Analysis and Orbital Mechanics for both Bachelor and Master students.
    Before joining the COMPASS team in Milan, I was a PhD student in the Astronautics Group of the University of Southampton, UK. There I studied the effects of design-for-demise solutions on the design of modern spacecraft, considering the effects that design choices have on the spacecraft survivability to space debris impacts.
    I am an Aerospace Engineer and attained my BEng and MEng Degrees cum laude at the University of Pisa.

PhD Candidates

  • Stefan FreyPhD CandidateRead more
    In late 2014, I obtained my MSc in mechanical engineering from ETH Zurich. I then joined the Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency as a scientific assistant for two years, where I analysed and reported the adherence of all space actors towards the space debris mitigation guidelines. Particularly, I observed the post mission disposal rate and analysed its effect on the number of collisions in the low Earth and Geostationary Orbits. I also participated in concurrent design studies with industrial partners building demisable structures to minimise the risk on ground from re-entering spacecraft.
    Beginning of 2017 I started my PhD at the Politecnico di Milano on space debris evolution modelling as part of the COMPASS project. My current work consists of the extension of a continuum-based fragment propagation model into all Earth bound orbital regimes, statistical estimation of the collision risk from such a cloud on current and future space missions, and identification of parent objects and orbits from fragments with unknown origin stemming from break-up events potentially years in the past.
  • Simeng HuangPhD CandidateRead more
    I obtained my MEng and BEng degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Harbin Institute of Technology, China. I started my PhD at Politecnico di Milano in the COMPASS team in November 2016. My research topic is “Geometry and Mission Integrated Design for Continuous Global Coverage Constellations”, from modelling to optimisation, and including all phases within the constellation operation. I am interested in solving challenging problems such as inner-constellation collision avoidance for the upcoming large constellations.
  • Davide MenzioPhD CandidateRead more
    I obtained my BEng from Politecnico di Torino in 2013 with a thesis on the validation test of the solar panels of the cubesat e-st@r-II. In 2014, I enrolled to a MEng in Aerospace Engineering with specialisation in space at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and I had the opportunity to complete my academical studies at the Technische Universiteit Delft thanks to an Erasmus+ scholarship. In 2016, I graduated with a master thesis on the long-term attitude behaviour on highly eccentric orbit performed at Space Debris Office of the European Space Agency. Since the end of 2016 I started a PhD at the Politecnico di Milano on space trajectory optimisation in the interplanetary environment as part of the COMPASS project.
    My current work consists in the development of new techniques for the design and optimisation of interplanetary trajectories to reduce the high mission cost and create new opportunities for space exploration. In particular, my attention was focused so far on the pruning of departure/arrival dates for gravity assisted trajectories, on the preliminary design of suboptimal multi-gravity assisted trajectories through a shape-based approach, on the analysis of the flyby effect with a variational approach and on the optimisation of ballistic and low-energy flyby in high-order dynamics with energy related functions.
    Among my interest: high performance computing, optimisation and machine learning techniques.
  • Marco NugnesPhD CandidateRead more
    I obtained my BEng in Aerospace Engineering at Federico II in Naples and the MEng in Space Engineering at Politecnico di Milano. I started working on Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) and their performance in terms of coverage analysis during a six months internship at OHB System AG in Bremen.
    In November 2018 I started my Ph.D. at Politecnico di Milano on robust design of low-thrust trajectories via differential dynamic programming as part of the COMPASS project.
  • Matteo RomanoPhD CandidateRead more
    I got my BEng in Aerospace Engineering in 2013 in Politecnico di Milano, followed by MEng in Space engineering in 2016.
    Currently, I am a PhD student in the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology of Politecnico di Milano, with research topic “Orbit propagation and uncertainty modelling for planetary protection compliance verification”. The research is part of the ERC-funded project COMPASS and in collaboration with the European Space Agency through a Networking/Partners Initiative (NPI).