PhD in Advanced Applications of Space-based Laser Systems at University of Strathclyde -

PhD in Advanced Applications of Space-based Laser Systems

University of Strathclyde PhD 3 Years Glasgow, United Kingdom

Job Description

This PhD project will investigate, theoretically and experimentally, the use of different space-based laser systems for debris removal, material extraction and analysis, asteroid manipulation and close proximity navigation. Based on the findings of the theoretical investigations, different space mission scenarios will be considered.

The project aligns with the current efforts of the ESA Space Situational Awareness and Clean Space Programmes, one of the main areas of research of the Aerospace Centre of Excellence within the department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. At the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics increasing attention is being paid to the development of suitable and rugged laser and optical sensors and systems for space-borne applications and this Studentship will serve as a strong anchor point to the research at the University and provide a strong translational vehicle for the realisation, further technical development and operational deployment for crucial laser-based technologies. Furthermore, it will provide important input to the UK contribution to the U.N.-recommended Space Mission Planning and Advisory Group (SMPAG) on Planetary Defence and to the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee.

The further development of space-based lasers is pursued for several applications within ESA. It is part of current technology development under technical domain 17-A for LIDAR and technical domain 16-C for optical communication as of the European Space Technology Masterplan. Preparatory work for space-based LIBS systems was furthermore undertaken in relation to a formerly considered LIBS system on the ExoMars 2018 mission, which was eventually replaced by a non-ablative Raman spectrometer. Research both in the direction of high-power space-based lasers and LIBS in particular remains of interest for ESA. The specific application for asteroid deflection is one of the key techniques foreseen to be studied within the scope of medium and long term technology development in the Space Sector.

Supervisor: Massimiliano Vasile, Aerospace Centre of Excellence, Department of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Co-supervisor: John-Mark Hopkins, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics

Person Specification

Candidates should have (or expect to achieve) a minimum first class honours (or equivalent) undergraduate degree in a relevant engineering, mathematics or physics subject, and be highly motivated to undertake cutting-edge research in this field. Candidates with a background in Aerospace Engineering, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, ICT, Photonics and Physics.

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