KEYNOTE - JUNE 19, 2023
Orienteering in the Solar System: how not to get lost before reaching destination
European Space Agency (ESA)
Interplanetary flight is one of the most fascinating areas of spaceflight and it is a must for the exploration of our Solar System.
Since two decades the European Space Agency (ESA) has developed the techniques and the expertise required to navigate to planets, asteroids and comets.
Navigation is the discipline that allows mission operators not to get lost in space and be able to reach their destinations.
It requires very accurate measurements of the limited set of observables for probes flying at distances from tens to hundreds of million km from the Earth and operating in proximity of celestial bodies.
The observables, either from radiometric or optical measurements, then need to fed into the so-called “orbit determination” process, which allows precise reconstruction of the past status of the spacecraft and its projection into the future to be able to design next mission events.
The talk take stock of some representative cases of ESA missions to give a feeling of the whole process.
Head of the Solar System and Exploration Missions Division in the Operations Department at the European Space Agency. Worked for the Rosetta, Venus Express, BepiColombo, and Solar Orbiter missions as Operations Manager and Flight Director. Focusing now on future missions like Exomars Rover, Juice, Hera, Mars Sample Return, and the Lunar exploration programme. Graduated at Politecnico di Milano in Aerospace Engineering. Completed basic pilot training at the Italian Air Force Academy. Likes football, mountain-biking, and skiing.