Development of Radar Systems for Nano-Satellites (funded)

Space-borne satellite radar is an important technology to measure properties of the Earth surface. However, existing radar satellites are relatively large, heavy and expensive. Current satellite radar missions employ either only a single satellite platform or a small constellation of two satellites. For these missions the revisit period, i.e. the time between satellite passes over one target region, is often ten days or more. However, it is desirable to observe targets much more frequently. Rapid information can be obtained by using large numbers of satellites that allow one particular region to be overpassed more frequently than with a single satellite. Inexpensive nano-satellites employing commercial-off-the-shelf components are the ideal platform for these constellations.

The small physical size of nano-satellites places significant constraints on the design of radar systems. The miniaturization of SAR systems to fit on a CubeSat requires new technological breakthroughs that go beyond state-of-the-art.

The aim of this PhD project is to develop a novel miniaturised radar front-end suitable for a nano-satellite, particularly focusing on approaches to reduce the number of RF beam-forming chains required and understanding the engineering trade-offs.

Applicants must have a background in electrical/electronics engineering and ideally experience with designing RF circuits.

A tax-free stipend of $NZD 28,200 per year is available for 3 years.

Contact for questions: Dr. Andrew Austin, a.austin@auckland.ac.nz

See this opportunity on FindAPhD.com

Spacecraft Trajectory Optimisation

The University of Auckland is developing a research programme in low delta-v spacecraft trajectory optimisation. We are looking for a PhD candidate to continue work in this area and develop our existing algorithms.

The ideal candidate will have skills or experience in:

* Spacecraft trajectory design, nonlinear dynamics, three-body dynamics,

* Applied mathematics, scientific computing, optimal control theory, optimization

* Space mission design.

The PhD student will be a part of Te Pūnaha Ātea Auckland Space Institute, at The University of Auckland (www.space.ac.nz).

The Space Institute/Te Pūnaha Ātea is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications.

Our institutional mission is to create, disseminate and exploit knowledge to support and enhance the development of the New Zealand Space Sector. Through our strategic partnerships, we have direct access to space that enables in-orbit demonstrations of technologies, and we are developing a multifunctional mission control capability to operate satellites and payloads, transforming raw data in useful information.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these guidelines:

* Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html

* Please give an outline (500 words) of your intended topic and areas of interest for doctoral study. When you detail your research interest, please ensure you succinctly record:

—- The area of research which particularly interests you.

—- Why you have chosen this area.

—- What you hope to achieve during your studies at the University of Auckland.

—- How your proposed research relates to current and recent research in this area at the University of Auckland. See http://astrophysics-and-astronomy.blogs.auckland.ac.nz/spacecraft-trajectory-and-propulsion-research/

* Email your statement, CV and academic record (including grades and subjects) to: 

Dr Nicholas Rattenbury and Dr. John Cater

See this opportunity on FindaPhD.com 

Space Situational Awareness

Space debris is defined as all human-made objects including fragments that are non functional. Today, the global dimension of the problem is internationally recognised, and active control of the space debris environment has been deemed necessary to sustain safe space activities in the future. Space situational awareness (SSA) aims to view, understand and predict the physical location of natural and human-made objects in orbit around the Earth. Within this framework, the University of Auckland is looking for one or more PhD candidates to investigate the following topics:

• Sequential estimation for highly nonlinear systems with applications to space surveillance and tracking;
• Onboard collision avoidance design for mega-constellation management;
• Mixed radar and optical initial orbit determination;
• Maneuver detection and reconstruction for space catalogue maintenance;
• Optimal tasking of ground-based and space-based sensors for space surveillance and tracking.

The ideal candidate will have:

• a background in aerospace engineering, physics or other relevant field;
• good programming skills (e.g. C++, Python and/or Matlab);
• solid mathematical background;
• ideally knowldege in astrodynamics.

The PhD student will be a part of Astrodynamics group of Te Pūnaha Ātea Auckland Space Institute, at The University of Auckland (www.space.ac.nz). The Astrodynamics Group is a lively and active group researching into space mission design and space surveillance and tracking. Our activity in space surveillance and tracking is aimed at enabling the sustainable use of space. The research is focused on improving the capabilities in predicting the future position of space resident objects (RSO), the way in which we observe them and determine their orbits to build and maintain the RSO catalogue. We do research to improve the accuracy of conjunctions analysis tools, which are needed to avoid in-space collisions and to enable safer and more cost-effective spacecraft operations. We study methods to improve re-entry predictions to reduce on-ground casualty risks and low-cost options for spacecraft end-of-life disposal to limit the probability of in-space collisions, thus enabling a sustainable use of space.

The Space Institute/Te Pūnaha Ātea is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these guidelines:

* Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland
at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html

* Please give an outline (500 words) of your intended topic and areas of interest for doctoral study. When you detail your research interest, please ensure you succinctly record:

  • The area of research which particularly interests you.
  • Why you have chosen this area.
  • What you hope to achieve during your studies at the University of Auckland
  • How your proposed research relates to current and recent research in this area at the University of
    Auckland.

Excellent candidates for PhD research at The University of Auckland can compete for a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. We can assess your chances if you send us your statement, CV and academic record (including grades and subjects).

Email: Roberto Armellin  or Laura Pirovano

Mission Analysis

Mission analysis concerns the definition, development and preparation phases of a space project, analysing the best satellite orbits to achieve specific objectives within the space mission. Within this framework, the University of Auckland is looking for one or more PhD candidates to investigate the following topics:

• Robust guidance and station keeping for interplanetary flights;
• Dynamics and control about small bodies;
• Merging high-order Taylor expansion and polynomial optimisation techniques to solve problems in astrodynamics (application to e.g. station keeping, data association, nonlinear least squares)
• Homotopic and smoothing approaches for the solution of optimal control problems for low-thrust trajectory.

The ideal candidate will have:

• a background in aerospace engineering, physics or other relevant field;
• good programming skills (e.g. C++, Python and/or Matlab);
• solid mathematical background;
• ideally knowledge in astrodynamics.

The PhD student will be a part of Astrodynamics group of Te Pūnaha Ātea Auckland Space Institute, at The University of Auckland (www.space.ac.nz). The Astrodynamics Group is a lively and active group researching into space mission design and space surveillance and tracking. Our main goal in mission design is to exploit the nonlinearities of the dynamics and optimal control theory to reduce mission costs and enable new mission concepts. We apply our research to a variety of problems, including low-thrust and impulsive interplanetary transfers, formation flying design and control, rendezvous and docking, remote sensing missions.

The Space Institute/Te Pūnaha Ātea is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these guidelines:

* Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland
at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html
* Please give an outline (500 words) of your intended topic and areas of interest for doctoral study. When you detail your research interest, please ensure you succinctly record:

  •  The area of research which particularly interests you.
  • Why you have chosen this area.
  • What you hope to achieve during your studies at the University of Auckland
  • How your proposed research relates to current and recent research in this area at the University of Auckland.

Excellent candidates for PhD research at The University of Auckland can compete for a University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship. We can assess your chances if you send us your statement, CV and academic record (including grades and subjects).

Email: Roberto Armellin  or Laura Pirovano

Space Optical Communications

The University of Auckland is developing a research programme in optical communications between ground and orbiting satellites. We are looking for a PhD candidate to adapt an existing optical telescope, and build optical instrumentation to demonstrate optical communications from satellites in low earth orbit.

New Zealand is part of the Australian Optical Communications Ground Segment Working Group. The Network will comprise optical telescopes across Australasia to enable optical communications as a service between ground and space. A goal of this research will be to integrate the New Zealand optical ground station node with the Network.

The ideal candidate will have skills or experience in

* Applied optoelectronics, optical instrumentation design, astronomical instrumentation,

* Practical astronomy, astronomical observations,

* Electronics, microelectronics and embedded programming,

* Scientific computer programming, experimental data acquisition

*Data analysis, modelling,

The PhD student will be a part of Te Pūnaha Ātea Auckland Space Institute, at The University of Auckland (www.space.ac.nz).

The Space Institute/Te Pūnaha Ātea is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications.

Our institutional mission is to create, disseminate and exploit knowledge to support and enhance the development of the New Zealand Space Sector. Through our strategic partnerships, we have direct access to space that enables in-orbit demonstrations of technologies, and we are developing a multifunctional mission control capability to operate satellites and payloads, transforming raw data in useful information.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these guidelines:

* Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland at Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html

* Please give an outline (500 words) of your intended topic and areas of interest for doctoral study. When you detail your research interest, please ensure you succinctly record:

—- The area of research which particularly interests you.

—- Why you have chosen this area.

—- What you hope to achieve during your studies at the University of Auckland.

—- Email your statement, CV and academic record (including grades and subjects) to 

Dr Nicholas Rattenbury and Dr. John Cater

See this opportunity on FindaPhD.com

Plasma Propulsion for Space Applications

The University of Auckland is conducting research into electric propulsion systems for small spacecraft. We are looking for one or more PhD candidates to (i) investigate fundamental physical processes of the helicon plasma thruster, (ii) miniature plasma thruster development or (iii) optimisation of the control and operation of a pulsed plasma thruster.

The University of Auckland collaborates in this research with the Australian National University, the Institute of Space Systems, Baylor University, University of Stuttgart and the DLR in Germany.

The ideal candidate will have skills or experience in:

* Theoretical and applied plasma physics, plasma propulsion, theoretical electrodynamics,

* Applied physics, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering,

* Electronics, microelectronics and embedded programming,

* Scientific computer programming, experimental data acquisition,

* Data analysis, modelling.

The PhD student will be a part of Te Pūnaha Ātea Auckland Space Institute, at The University of Auckland (www.space.ac.nz).

The Space Institute/Te Pūnaha Ātea is a multidisciplinary centre of expertise in space science and engineering, including a capability to execute space missions and develop applications.

Our institutional mission is to create, disseminate and exploit knowledge to support and enhance the development of the New Zealand Space Sector. Through our strategic partnerships, we have direct access to space that enables in-orbit demonstrations of technologies, and we are developing a multifunctional mission control capability to operate satellites and payloads, transforming raw data in useful information.

If you are interested in this opportunity, please follow these guidelines:

* Check your eligibility to take a PhD at The University of Auckland at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/study/applications-and-admissions/entry-requirements/postgraduate-entry-requirements/doctoral-entry-requirements.html

* Please give an outline (500 words) of your intended topic and areas of interest for doctoral study. When you detail your research interest, please ensure you succinctly record:

* The area of research which particularly interests you.
—- Why you have chosen this area.
—- What you hope to achieve during your studies at the University of Auckland
—- How your proposed research relates to current and recent research in this area at the University of Auckland. See http://astrophysics-and-astronomy.blogs.auckland.ac.nz/spacecraft-trajectory-and-propulsion-research/
—- Email your statement, CV and academic record (including grades and subjects) to 

Dr Nicholas Rattenbury and Dr. John Cater

See this opportunity on FindaPhD.com

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