Edoardo Ciccarelli

Edoardo Ciccarelli

Postgraduate Research Student

Academic and research departments

Astrodynamics, Surrey Space Centre.


My research project



NICOLA BARESI, NICOLÒ BERNARDINI, EDOARDO CICCARELLI, Xiaoyu Fu, Harry J. Holt, Roberto Armellin (2022)Guidance, Navigation and Control of Retrograde Relative Orbits around Phobos

Despite the advantages of very-low altitude retrograde orbits around Phobos, questions remain about the efficacy of conventional station-keeping strategies in preventing spacecraft such as the Martian Moons eXploration from escaping or impacting against the surface of the small irregular moon. This paper introduces new high-fidelity simulations in which the output of a sequential Square-Root Information Filter is combined with recently developed orbit maintenance strategies based on differential algebra and convex optimization methods. The position and velocity vector of the spacecraft are first estimated using range, range-rate, and additional onboard data types such as LIDAR and camera images. This information is later processed to assess the necessity of an orbit maintenance maneuver based on the estimated relative altitude of MMX about Phobos. If a maneuver is deemed necessary, the state of the spacecraft is fed to either a successive convex optimization procedure or a high-order target phase approach capable of providing sub-optimal station-keeping maneuvers. The performance of the two orbit maintenance approaches is assessed via Monte Carlo simulations and compared against work in the literature so as to identify points of strength and weaknesses.

The Martian Moons eXploration mission will be the first of its kind to sample and study Mars's moon Phobos for a prolonged period of time. The aim of this work is to show that the adoption of periodic and quasi-periodic retrograde trajectories would be beneficial for the scientific return of MMX. A consider covariance analysis is hereby implemented in order to compare the estimation of high-order gravitational field coefficients from different orbital geometries and processing different sets of observables. It is shown that low-altitude non-planar quasi-satellite orbits would refine the knowledge of the moon's gravity field.