Michèle Lavagna

Michèle Lavagna
Politecnico di Milano | Polimi · Department of Aerospace Engineering

About

175
Publications
20,974
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1,143
Citations
Citations since 2016
95 Research Items
992 Citations
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2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250
2016201720182019202020212022050100150200250

Publications

Publications (175)
Article
The last decade saw a renewed interest on the Moon as a well suited training premise in preparation to manned mission to Mars, but also as an interesting target itself, for scientific investigations, technological developments and new markets opportunities. As a result, numerous and very different missions to the Moon are currently being studied an...
Conference Paper
The controlled atmospheric re-entry associated with the precision soft-landing of Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLV) on Earth is very challenging as it depends on multiple parameters. Over the last decade, the cost-effectiveness of such a technology has been finally demonstrated with the successful landing and reuse of SpaceX's Falcon 9 first-stage roc...
Article
Full-text available
In Situ Resource Utilization constitutes an enabling technology for future, long-term human space exploration. The potentiality of oxygen extraction from dry lunar regolith by means of carbothermal reduction is analyzed in this work. Focus is placed on the scarcely investigated temperature range 1273–1373 K, looking at the possibility to operate be...
Article
The Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) is part of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART), the first mission aiming to demonstrate the applicability of the kinetic impactor method for planetary defense. The mission was launched on 2021 November 24 to perform the impact experiment on Dimorphos, the small secondary of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper focuses on the implementation of a fixed planar fins model in a Reusable Launch Vehicle (RLV) re-entry dynamics simulator with closed-loop guidance and control integration. The vehicle first-stage booster studied, evolving in the terrestrial atmosphere, is steered by a thrust vector control system correcting the trajectory deviations fro...
Preprint
Given the numerous possibilities that formation flying space missions can enable, being able to design and govern relative trajectories in this scenario is fundamental. Particularly interesting, due to the installation and operation of the Lunar Gateway, which will represent the next human outpost in the cislunar environment, will be the exploitati...
Preprint
A new tool capable of rendering high-quality spaceborne synthetic images via ray-tracing is here presented. The assumptions and simplifications used to model both the spacecraft and the background objects are reported, and the trade-off between accuracy and rendering time is discussed, leading to the default settings of the tool. The optical proper...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Formation flying represents a promising opportunity for next space missions, due to its benefits in cost saving, redundancy and fault tolerance given by multiple small and cheap space segments exploitation, with comparable performance of a single, large monolithic spacecraft. That's even more relevant in asteroid exploration, as the harsh environme...
Article
Full-text available
Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids (LICIACube) is an Italian mission managed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and part of the NASA Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary defense mission. Its main goals are to document the effects of the DART impact on Dimorphos, the secondary member of the (65803) Didymos binary asteroid sys...
Article
A novel algorithm for autonomous landing guidance computation is presented. The trajectory is expressed in polynomial form of minimum order to satisfy a set of 17 boundary constraints, depending on 2 parameters: time-of-flight and initial thrust magnitude. The consequent control acceleration is expressed in terms of differential algebraic (DA) vari...
Article
Traditional vision-based navigation algorithms are highly affected from non-nominal conditions, which comprise illumination conditions and environmental uncertainties. Thanks to the outstanding generalization capability and flexibility, deep neural networks (and AI algorithms in general) are excellent candidates to solve the aforementioned shortcom...
Article
Full-text available
Small bodies environment is usually difficult to be modelled for a number of reasons. Among the others, the uncertainty associated to the non-uniform gravitational field requires in-situ observations for its refinement, or its identification. This operation becomes even more challenging in case the orbiting platform is a CubeSat or, in general, a p...
Preprint
Full-text available
Small bodies environment is usually difficult to be modelled for a number of reasons. Among the others, the uncertainty associated to the non-uniform gravitational field requires in-situ observations for its refinement, or its identification. This operation becomes even more challenging in case the orbiting platform is a CubeSat or, in general, a p...
Article
Full-text available
The capability to orient the solar arrays of a spacecraft toward the Sun is an ultimate asset for any attitude determination and control subsystem (ADCS). This ability should be maintained in any operative circumstance, either nominal or off-nominal, to avoid the loss of the entire space-borne system. The safe mode implementation should guarantee a...
Article
Full-text available
Leading space agencies are increasingly investing in the gradual automation of space missions. In fact, autonomous flight operations may be a key enabler for on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) missions, carrying inherent benefits such as cost and risk reduction. Within the spectrum of proximity operations, this work focuses on au...
Article
This paper deals with the problem of mapping unknown small celestial bodies while autonomously navigating in their proximity with an optical camera. A Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) based planning policy is here proposed to increase the surface mapping efficiency with a smart autonomous selection of the images acquisition epochs. Two techniques...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Current missions to asteroids largely rely on visible imaging to perform relative navigation with respect to the target surface. A consequence of observing the body in the visible band is the large influence of illumination conditions, which could be mitigated by an imaging system working in other spectral bands. This paper studies the possibility...
Conference Paper
Traditional System Engineering approaches highlight some bottlenecks whenever dealing with information exchange among stakeholders, typically producing many documents, difficult to trace and to keep harmonized. This is particularly true for space applications, which entail very complex systems conceivement, design, implementation and operation by a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the next decade, the exploitation of the Cislunar environment for both manned and unmanned missions will open the space frontier for human exploration of the Moon, Mars and asteroids. The Lunar Gateway (LOP-G) has been proposed as a potential hub for excursions to Mars and activities in support of exploration and planetary defence. Within this c...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The last decade saw a renewed interest on the Moon as a well suited training premise in preparation to manned mission to Mars, but also as an interesting target itself, for scientific investigations, technological developments and new markets opportunities. As a result, numerous and very different missions to the Moon are currently being studied an...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The presence of oxygen in the Earth atmosphere represents the key resource for the human life. Outside that thin layer of atmosphere, every place is naturally unsuitable for life. Nowadays, the vital resources on board the ISS, the only manned outpost in space, are constantly resupplied directly from Earth in an open-loop cycle. Different strategie...
Article
The justification for this work and the goal of the paper is to develop an algorithm that addresses the following features: To develop a neural-based reconstruction algorithm for system dynamics identification, which allows an autonomous spacecraft to refine the on-board dynamic model as it flies, coping with unmodeled perturbations and nonlinearit...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In this work a Proximal Policy Optimization (PPO) algorithm is explored to setup an agent that, via imaging, plans sub-optimal paths to fly-around an uncooperative and unknown orbiting object with shape reconstruction purposes. The proximity dynamics between the spacecraft and the target object of the chaser agent is linearized taking into account...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The exploration of dynamical structures in multibody environments is a complex and computationally demanding task. Millions of propagations are usually required to characterize small regions of the state space around either a point, an orbit, or a trajectory of interest. Even though a PC can handle such simulations, limitations associated to the co...
Conference Paper
OHB Italia SpA is leading a project for the European Space Agency together with Politecnico di Milano and OHB System AG aimed at developing and realizing a laboratory reactor demonstrator. The reactor is implementing the Carbo-Thermal Reduction (CTR) process for the extraction of oxygen from lunar regolith. This main process requires heating the so...
Article
This paper presents an on-board, centralized autonomous navigation algorithm able to reconstruct the trajectories of a fleet of CubeSats relative to an asteroid binary system. The algorithm is executed on-board the main spacecraft, which takes relative measurements using a narrow optical camera and an additional relative measurement, being inter sa...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This work investigates the potentialities of multispectral imaging data fusion for relative navigation, mapping and dynamical characterization of an unknown celestial body. A vision-based navigation algorithm is designed to work on both visible (VIS) and thermal infrared (TIR) images, with the aim of estimating the spacecraft's relative pose while...
Article
Full-text available
Vibration suppression during attitude control is a fundamental research topic whenever control of the rotational motion of a spacecraft with flexible appendages and internal liquid sloshing is of interest. The proposed method is based on an attitude control system with centralized sensors and actuators, without the usage of collocated devices for v...
Article
At the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, the Moon is back to the scene of scientific and commercial space exploration interests. During the next decade, the establishment of a Gateway in cislunar non-Keplerian orbits will open the space frontiers to sustainable manned and robotic missions on and around the Moon. Such infrastructure will require severa...
Article
This paper presents a neural-aided Guidance, Navigation & Control algorithm for reconfiguration of distributed space systems. The guidance algorithm is based on Artificial Potential Fields (APF) in the Relative Orbital Elements (ROE) space. Since the relative orbit determination measurements are typically referred to the Cartesian metrics (e.g. ran...
Preprint
HERMES is a scientific mission composed of 3U nano-satellites dedicated to the detection and localization of high-energy astrophysical transients, with a distributed space architecture to form a constellation in Earth orbits. The space segment hosts novel miniaturized detectors to probe the X-ray temporal emission of bright events, such as Gamma-Ra...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The last decade has been characterized by a renewed interest in human exploration of the solar system, which brought to the creation of a thorough roadmap for the next Moon and Mars manned missions. The Artemis program represents the first step towards that goal, aiming at bringing the humankind back on the Lunar surface by 2024, and laying the fou...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The interest in near earth objects (NEOs) has widely spread among space agencies during the past decades, not only due to the valuable scientific data these objects can provide, but also for the potential hazard they represent for our planet. In particular, to date there still isn't a validated technique to deflect NEOs on a collision course with E...
Conference Paper
Modelling the evolution of small fragments in highly perturbed orbital scenarios is a key aspect for pushing forward the capabilities to predict the outcomes of peculiar high energy events in the solar system. In particular, considering also recent trends in the space community, the attention has been moved toward hypervelocity impacts, which repre...
Conference Paper
Timely interception of interesting small bodies, not easily detectable quite in advance to properly prepare a space mission, still represents a bottleneck in visiting transient pristine comets and deflecting dangerous asteroids. The paper proposes a methodology to rank the Celestial sphere zones in terms of reachability, having, among the control...
Article
In 2021, the DART spacecraft will be launched by NASA to intercept the binary system Didymos and impact the moonlet (Dimorphos), to test the effectiveness of kinetic impactors for the deviation of hazardous asteroids’ trajectories. The impact is expected to generate a cloud of particles, whose study could provide valuable data about asteroid’s prop...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Among the critical steps forward the success of future Active Debris Removal are missions to enhance the target knowledge and validate proximity operations. The ESA e.Inspector project, currently in phase-A, aims at preparing a smallsat mission ready to fly and inspect the Debris. This paper discusses the current baseline, ensuring required passive...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
H.E.R.M.E.S., a mission to fly in 2022, is the first 6 high performance 3U CubeSats LEO constellation to collect multi-messenger astrophysics data devoted through a fractionated payload strategy. The paper describes the Mission Analysis performed to achieve the highest possible sky coverage Sky throughout the mission duration, exploiting an innovat...
Conference Paper
CubeSats exploitation for small bodies exploration may contribute to gather high value scientific data, but entails significant challenges for the GNC system, due to uncertain environment and currently limited technology capabilities of such small platforms. This paper proposes an autonomous navigation and pointing con- trol for a CubeSat operating...
Conference Paper
Driven by several potential applications, leading space agencies are increasingly investing in the gradual automation of space missions. Autonomous flight operations may be a key enabler for on-orbit servicing, assembly and manufacturing (OSAM) missions, carrying inherent benefits such as cost and risk reduction. Within the spectrum of proximity op...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The increasingly ambitious objectives of small bodies exploration pose several difficulties to missions design, requiring a precise development of safe and robust trajectories, to maximize the science return whilst mitigating the detrimental effect of environmental uncertainties. A dedicated scenario is required for asteroids binary systems, where...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The High Energy Rapid Modular Ensemble of Satellites (HERMES) is a project that plays a key role in the Multi-Messenger Astrophysics of the next decade. The implementation of a distributed space asset to continuously monitor the random electromagnetic emissions of bright high-energy transients in the Universe is proposed. Specifically, the technolo...
Article
The paper presents a numerical implementation of the gravitational N-body problem with contact interactions between non-spherically shaped bodies. The work builds up on a previous implementation of the code and extends its capabilities. The number of bodies handled is significantly increased through the use of a CUDA/GPU-parallel octree structure....
Article
This paper presents a novel technique, combining neural network and Kalman filter, for state estimation. The proposed solution provides the estimates of the system states while also estimating the uncertain or unmodeled terms of the process dynamics. The developed algorithm exploits a Radial Basis Function Neural Network that outputs an estimate of...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In 2021, the DART spacecraft will be launched by NASA to intercept the binary system Didymos and impact the moonlet (Didymoon), to test the effectiveness of kinetic impactors for the deviation of hazardous asteroids' trajectories. The impact is expected to generate a cloud of particles, whose study could provide valuable data about asteroid's prope...
Conference Paper
Distributed space systems composed of several micro-satellites flying in formation are expected to enhance space missions thanks to their reconfiguration capability. In distributed systems, no information are available on the planned trajectory of each agent, resulting in a lack of reciprocal knowledge of future neighbouring agents state. Such know...
Conference Paper
HERMES is a scientific mission project which aims at validating on orbit a new approach to Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) detection and localisation. The novelty stays in both the data to recover, led by the multi-messenger astrophysics concept, and the new, miniaturized payload to be host on board. University of Cagliari and INAF, retain the science and...
Article
Complex robotics missions require complex GNC and Robotics algorithms, often using vision sensors. The problem of vision-in-the-loop GNC is addressed using photorealistic simulated images and simple computer vision algorithms, coupled with relative estimation and control of a servicing satellite in close proximity operations with a customer satelli...
Conference Paper
A method to autonomously plan the timing of observations during the mapping of an unknown small body has been developed by the PoliMi-ASTRA Team. The planning goal is to improve the images collection efficiency , enhancing the mapping quality, while both limiting the amount of collected images to be downlinked and speeding up the mapping process. D...
Poster
Full-text available
The capability to correctly model and simulate collisions occurring in space is becoming a key asset to support either scientific investigations or space exploration probes sizing whenever natural\artificial or natural\natural objects contact is a core event in the investigated low gravity field regime scenario. In particular, Politecnico di Milano...
Article
The interest of the space community toward missions like On-Orbit Servicing of functional satellite to extend their operative life, or Active Debris Removal to reduce the risk of collision among artificial objects in the most crowded orbital belts, is significantly increasing for both economical and safety aspects. These activities present signific...
Article
Nowadays, one of the most active research fields in space engineering is autonomous relative navigation around uncooperative objects. A common approach used to tackle this problem is through vision-based pose determination techniques. This paper investigates the possibility of using non-linear filtering techniques to improve the attitude estimation...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A recently popular way to study the internal properties and structure of "rubble pile" asteroids is to study them as gravitational aggregates, through numerical N-body simulations. These methods are suitable to reproduce aggregation scenarios after disruption and allow the study of the dynamical and collisional evolution of fragments up to the form...
Article
Full-text available
Near Rectilinear Halo Orbits (NRHO) have been recently identified as suitable location for a cislunar space station, to orbit in the Earth–Moon vicinity and offer long-term infrastructural services to manned and unmanned missions to the Moon and further. Indeed, to reliably perform rendezvous and docking/undocking phases between space vehicles orbi...
Poster
Full-text available
The study of small bodies addresses a number of questions relevant for space engineers, planetary scientists and physicists. Near Earth Asteroids (NEA) are a great opportunity for technological and human exploration missions. NEAs can also represent a threat for the planet. The scientific and technological exploitation and the implementation of mit...
Article
Full-text available
Periodicity of motion around the collinear libration point associated with the Elliptic Restricted Three-Body Problem is studied. A survey of periodic solutions in the Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem is presented considering both Sun--Earth and Earth--Moon systems. Halo, Lyapunov and Vertical families around L1, L2 and L3 points are investig...
Article
Interest on Large Space Structures (LSS), orbiting in strategic and possibly long-term stable locations, is nowadays increasing in the space community. LSS can serve as strategic outpost to support a variety of manned and unmanned mission, or may carry scientific payloads for astronomical observations. The paper focuses on analysing LSS in the Eart...
Article
The close-proximity exploration of small celestial bodies of our Solar System is the current frontier of space exploration. Trajectory design and exploitation of the natural dynamics around such bodies represents a very challenging astrodynamics problem, due to their weak and highly chaotic gravitational environment. The paper discusses design solu...
Article
In this paper, the design of a fully magnetic attitude control subsystem for a picosat platform is discussed. The developed control law is based on a simple and reliable architecture, which can be easily implemented on small spacecrafts for de-tumbling and three-axis stabilization purposes. The subsystem design follows a practical engineering appro...
Article
A space station in the vicinity of the Moon can be exploited as a gateway for future human and robotic exploration of the solar system. The natural location for a space system of this kind is about one of the Earth–Moon libration points. The study addresses the dynamics during rendezvous and docking operations with a very large space infrastructure...
Conference Paper
This paper investigates the orbit-attitude dynamics and the control of rotational motion of an extended space structure in cislunar environment. The paper presents a fully coupled model for orbit-attitude dynamics, which is based on a Circular Restricted Three-Body Problem formulation. The equations of motion take also into account the most relevan...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The exploration of NEA (Near Earth Asteroids) is characterized by many problematics such as collision risks, irregular gravity fields and, in case of binary systems, multibody gravity perturbations, whose negative effects on mission design could be mitigated by the exploitation of multiple spacecraft in formation, with lower weights, dimensions and...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
In the next future, space debris mitigation is going to become a critical issue. In one of the most possible active debris removal mission scenarios, a space tug exploits flexible systems, such as nets and tethers, to capture a debris. A controlled brake is performed to drop the orbital velocity and put the system on a ballistic reentry path throug...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This paper presents the design and testing activities of a new experimental facility currently under development at Politecnico di Milano, at the premises of the Aerospace Science and Technology Department (DAER). The purpose of the facility is the testing of novel Guidance, Navigation, and Control algorithms for autonomous landing on planets and s...