Seminar on Space Exploration

Chair’s Distinguished Lecture: Challenges and Opportunities for Space Exploration with Autonomous Small Spacecraft

AE585_seminar - Jia-Richards.jpg
Oliver Jia-Richards
Doctoral Candidate
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

This seminar will cover some of the research challenges and opportunities for space exploration using autonomous small spacecraft, with an emphasis on the interaction between the propulsion system and the guidance and control system. Propulsion and guidance and control remain two major technology deficiencies for space exploration with small spacecraft, and the design of these two systems is inherently coupled. Solutions to the challenges presented by the reduced lifetime of miniaturized electric propulsion systems as well as the limited computational capability of the spacecraft for trajectory design will be covered. The main topic will be on the opportunity for using some electric propulsion devices for novel methods of surface maneuverability on atmosphere-less planetary bodies. The overall goal of this research is to improve the capabilities of autonomous small spacecraft in order to expand the range of missions these spacecraft can perform to include missions such as active debris removal and exploration of near-Earth asteroids.

About the speaker…
Oliver Jia-Richards is a doctoral candidate and NASA Space Technology Research Fellow in the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The primary motivation for his research is to resolve technology gaps at the intersection of space propulsion and guidance and control in order to improve the autonomy of small spacecraft for space exploration. His long-term research vision is to enable small spacecraft to perform complex missions and decrease the cost of space science.
Find out more here