Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Final Activity Report Summary - ASTRONET (The Astrodynamics Network)

ASTRONET was a European network that brought together mathematicians, engineers and astronomers from universities, governmental agencies and industry to work on innovative new methods for designing spacecraft trajectories and controlling their dynamics. Research focused particularly on:
1) The design of fuel efficient trajectories obtained by maximizing the use of the 'natural dynamics' of bodies moving in the solar system - the 'interplanetary superhighway' - by employing sophisticated ideas and techniques from dynamical systems theory.
2) The extension of these ideas to the dynamics and control of solar sail spacecraft for which radiation pressure from the Sun acts as an additional propulsive force, and to trajectories that can be obtained by other sources of continuous low-thrust.
3) New methods for controlling the attitude of both rigid and flexible spacecraft using momentum exchange devices and other novel actuators and techniques from optimal control theory.
4) Trajectory dynamics and control of both tethered spacecraft and 'free' formations of spacecraft, and the relative attitude dynamics and control of two free spacecraft.
5) The dynamical environment of highly non-spherical gravitating bodies such as asteroids, with applications to the dynamics of dust near the surface of the asteroid and missions to asteroids, and on the dynamics and dynamical environments of binary asteroid pairs.

During the period 2007-10 ASTRONET'S training programme centred on projects for Early Stage and Experienced Researchers that crossed the traditional boundaries between mathematics, engineering and industry. It included international collaborations and, in three cases, internships at ESA's European Space Operations Centre. These were supported by an extensive programme of Schools and Workshops. In total ASTRONET delivered 387.5 person-months of training to 19 individual doctoral and postdoctoral researchers from 11 countries.

Subject to the successful conclusion of negotiations, an enlarged ASTRONET will be funded from 2012 - 2015 by a Marie-Curie Initial Training Network coordinated by the Institut d'Estudis Espacials de Catalunya. Its research programme has evolved naturally from the Network's achievements to date, but it will be conducted within an environment of even greater international and multidisciplinary collaboration, and with increased engagement with the non-academic space industry.

Reported by

United Kingdom
Follow us on: RSS Facebook Twitter YouTube Managed by the EU Publications Office Top