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PhD Studentship - Design and Mission Analysis of Femtosatellites - University of Glasgow

13.12.08 |

PhD Studentship

"Design and Mission Analysis of Femtosatellites"

Space Advanced Research Team, Department of Aerospace Engineering

The Space Advanced Research Team at the University of Glasgow is currently seeking a PhD student to investigate the "Design and Mission Analysis of Femtosatellites"

The project consists of the design and development of femto-satellites with a volume of 1 cm x 1 cm x 1 cm and a weight of approximately 10 grams. These very tiny satellites are expected to be mainly made of stacked silicon microchips. Some microchips will be responsible for very specific tasks necessary for the survival of the mission (for example, communication, attitude control, etc.), whereas other microchips will form the scientific payload (for example, embedded microcameras, radiation detectors, etc.) These femto-satellites have the potential to drastically lower the costs of space missions and increase the frequency of the launches. Furthermore, the possibility of having a huge number of femto-satellites (more than 1,000) at a reasonable manufacturing price (less than £200 each) will increase the overall mission reliability (losing some of them will not jeopardize the overall mission objectives). It will also allow the conception of new mission scenarios and the assembly of large structures in space consisting of thousands of small elements (for example, interferometric antenna arrays, synthetic aperture radars, etc.) The doctoral student selected for this project will have to take into account not only the design trade-offs of present microelectronic technology, but also the mission design and analysis trade-offs applicable to space applications. In this process, it is expected that the doctoral student will be able to produce some advances in the state-of-the-art of this interdisciplinary field of research since the present design rules of small satellites cannot be directly applied to the design and development of femto-satellites due to the severe constraints in size and power consumption.

The PhD candidate for this post will hold an upper 1st class degree in either aerospace engineering or electrical & electronics engineering. The successful applicant will have good analytical and modelling skills, and good knowledge of microprocessors and/or space mission analysis and design. Enthusiasm and determination in exploring original ideas as well as good team spirit are desirable qualities of the successful candidate. A very good spoken and written English is essential.

Each Scholarship will run for 4 years, cover all tuition fees (EU or overseas) and provide the successful student with a stipend at the Research Council recommended rates (£12,940 for 2008/09). On top of this the project benefits from £5,300 per year research costs.

The project will start between January 2009 and April 2009.

In the first instance the documentation submitted by the applicant will include a cover letter detailing why you wish to be considered for the post and how your skills fit the proposed research, a curriculum vitae, a list of publications and the name and address of two referees willing to submit a confidential reference.

Informal enquiries and applications should be sent to Dr Gianmarco Radice, Department of Aerospace Engineering, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK. Tel: +44-(0)141-3304068. Email:

Note that unsuccessful but nevertheless outstanding candidates may be considered for other scholarships with a start date of October 2009.

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