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OLFAR PhD defence Steven Engelen

Submitter: Mark Bentum
Description: On Thursday November 3 at the TUDelft, Steven Engelen successfully defended his PhD thesis with the title "Swarm Satellites, design, characteristics and applications".

In his thesis Steven explains how to design and optimize a satellite swarm such that it achieves a certain mission goal. In this case the mission is OLFAR, an envisioned swarm of order 50 satellites in lunar orbit acting as a distributed interferometric radio telescope.

Due to the distributed nature of the telescope antenna swarm, the system as a whole is to a certain extent insensitive to component failure. Using Markov modeling, Steven has simulated degradation of the OLFAR satellite, and using Monte-Carlo analysis he has investigated the impact of component degradation on various properties of the swarm. He has also performed a full orbital analysis for a lunar science orbit.

This work was done within the ASTRON-TUDelft-UTwente OLFAR STW project, aiming at developing scalable autonomous nano satellite systems for low-frequency radio astronomy in space. Steven is the third OLFAR PhD student graduating in this project. Alex Budianu (University of Twente) and Raj Thilak Rajan (TU-Delft) were the other two successful PhD students.

With the OLFAR work, together with R&D projects and studies such as NCLE, DARIS, DEX, DSL, SURO etc, the community is gradually preparing technologies for a future low-frequency interferometric mission in space.
Copyright: Steven Engelen
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