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The University of Southampton

Dr Roberto Armellin 

Visiting Fellow in Astronautics

Dr Roberto Armellin's photo

Dr Roberto Armellin is a visiting fellow in Astronautics within Engineering and Physical Sciences at the University of Southampton.


Dates Career Summary
From 2013 - 2016 University of Southampton
Lecturer in Astronautics Research Group
From 2008 Dinamica Srl
Co-founder and partner.
Activity: project manager of contracts with the European Space Agency
2007-2013 Politecnico di Milano
Postdoctoral fellow at Department of Aerospace Science and Technology.
Research activity: space trajectory optimization, uncertainty propagation, multidisciplinary design of space systems, and small body sampling
2004-2007 Politecnico di Milano
PhD student at the Aerospace Engineering Department.
PhD Thesis title: Multidisciplinary optimisation of space vehicles for atmospheric manouvers (Supervisor: Professor Michele Lavagna)
Research activity: implementation of an optimisation architecture for the preliminary design of aerocapture and aero-gravity assist manoeuvres at Mars.  I also gained experience on trajectory optimisation, global optimisation, hypersonic aerodynamics, and high order methods for sensitivity analysis.
2006 Michigan State University
Research Scholar at the Department of Physics and Astronomy under the supervision of Professor Martin Berz
Research activity: high-order methods for the sensitivity analysis and robust conrol of aero-assisted manoeuvres.
2006 University of Maryland
Research Scholar at the Department of Aerospace Engineering under the supervision of Dr Mark Lewis
Research activity: simplified methods for hypersonic aerodynamics of space vehicles.
1997-2003 Politecnico di Milano
MSc student in Aerospace Engineering.  Specialization: Astronautics
MSc thesis: Optimal Trajectory Generation and Control for Reconfiguration Manoeuvres of Formation Flying using Low-Thrust Propulsion. (Supervisor Professor Amalia Finzi)
Research activity: reconfiguration algorithms for spacecraft flying in formation based on the repetitive solutions of linear systems.

Research interests

My research activity can be grouped into four main areas:

1) Application of Taylor differential algebra and Taylor models to space engineering problems

  • Robust and optimatl guidance and control laws of space trajectories
  • High-order expansion of two point boundary values problems
  • Rigorous global optimization of interplanetary transfers with multiple gravity assists and deep-space manoeuvres
  • Orbital conjunctions and collision probabilities for NEO and space debris (see Figure 1)
  • Orbital determination of asteroid and artificial satellites

2) Multidisciplinary optimization of space systems

  • Multidisciplinary optimization of space vehicles involved in atmospheric manoeuvres: launch; aero-gravity assist; aerocapture (see Figure 2); entry, descent, and landing
  • Coupled trajectory and spacecraft subsystems optimization
  • Design of active space debris removal devices

3) Space trajectories optimization

  • Formation flying reconfiguration and station keeping manoeuvres
  • Impulsive and low-thrust transfers in the two- and three-body dynamics (see Figure 3)
  • Aero-gravity assists and aerocapture trajectories optimization
  • Lunar and planetary landing

4) Small body sampling

  • Scientific use of the sampler, drill, and distribution (SD2)
  • Strategies for the mechanical characterization of cometary soil
  • Simulation of small body sampling via Discrete Element Method (see Figure 4)
Apophis close encounter with the Earth
Figure 1
Pareto front of vehicles optimized for Mars aerocapture
Figure 2
Low-thrust transfer to a Moon L2 halo orbit
Figure 3
Discrete element method simulation of NEO sampling
Figure 4

Research group


Research project(s)

Technology for Improving Re-Entry Predictions of European Upper Stages through Dedicated Observations

Module Title Code Discipline Role
Aerospace Design II SESA3022 Aerospace Engineering Lecturer
Astronautics SESA3005 Aerospace Engineering Lecturer
Dr Roberto Armellin
Southampton Boldrewood Innovation Campus
University of Southampton
Building 176
Burgess Road
SO16 7QF
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