Space Fligth Dynamics Lab

The laboratory conducts research on subjects related to space flight dynamics. This is a broad field that comprises matters ranging from celestial mechanics to optimal control. Both analytical and numerical methods are employed to tackle this extensive set of problems.
Within the wide range of space flight matters, the interest of this lab is focused on the following subjects.

Tether Dynamics
Space tethers exhibit a complex motion. The strong coupling between attitude and orbital dynamics explains this behavior. Therefore, missions involving space tethers require a thoughtful analysis.
The use of tethers in space is promising in a number of applications. In particular, electrodynamic tethers are proposed to be used as a efficient solution for debris mitigation missions or planetary exploration. The study of electrodynamic tethers is split into a series of sections:

  • Current collection computation
  • Dynamics of dumbbell model
  • Analysis of lateral motion

Space Tether

Photo: ESA. YES2 satellite

Orbital Mechanics
Study, analysis and simulation of the spacecraft dynamics in perturbed systems using analytical, semi-analytical, and numerical methods.

  • Orbit mechanics about planetary satellites
  • Spacecraft dynamics in unstable orbital environments
  • Orbital motion about and on asteroids and comets, asteroid threat mitigation issues

Orbital Mechanics

ESA, image by C.Carreau

Trajectory Optimization Trajectory optimization constitutes one of the main concerns of mission feasibility studies and mission analysis. Depending on the propulsion system and the model employed, optimization problems can be classified into these categories:

  • Low-thrust trajectories in the restricted two body problem
  • Coasting trajectories in the circular restricted three body problem
  • Low-thrust trajectories in the circular restricted three body problem

Trajectory Optimization
Recent publications
  1. Periodic Orbits of a Hill-Tether Problem Originated from Collinear Points
    Pelaez, J.; Lara, M.; Bombardelli, C.; et al. J Guid Contr Dynam , doi:10.2514/1.53097 (2012) [link]
  2. Energy Analysis of Bare Electrodynamic Tethers
    Sanjurjo-Rivo, M.; Pelaez, J. J Propul Power , doi: 10.2514/1.48168 (2011) [link]
  3. Asymptotic Solution for the Current Profile of Passive Bare Electrodynamic Tethers
    Bombardelli, Claudio; Pelaez, Jesus; Sanjurjo-Rivo, Manuel J Propulsion Power doi: 10.2514/1.46808 (2010) [link]
  4. Three-Body Dynamics and Self-Powering of an Electrodynamic Tether in a Plasmasphere
    Curreli, D.; Lorenzini, E. C.; Bombardelli, C.; et al. J Propul Power doi:10.2514/1.46848 (2010) [link]
  5. Generator regime of self-balanced electrodynamic bare tethers
    Pelaez, J; Sanjurjo-Rivo, Manuel J Spacecraft Rockets doi: 10.2514/1.20471 (2006) [link]
  1. Space Dynamics Group (SDG)
  2. Jesús Peláez, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
  3. Claudio Bombardelli, Universidad Politénica de Madrid.
  4. Martín Lara, Real Observatorio de la Armada.
  5. Daniel J. Scheeres, University of Colorado at Boulder.
  6. Guilles Métris, Observatoire de la Cote d'Azur.
  7. Enrico C. Lorenzini, University of Padova.
  8. Davide Curreli, University of Padova.
  9. Dario Izzo, Advanced Concept Team, ESA.