Space Safety and Sustainability Project Group

Join us on Facebook, Twitter and Slideshare! 



Active Projects

The Space Safety and Sustainability Group is currently running five projects. Click on the links below to find out more:

  1. International Spacecraft Design Policies for On-orbit Servicing
  2. Risk Analysis for a Manned Mission to Venus
  3. Low Power Electrical plasma Thruster for CubeSats
  4. Mars Spacesuit Safety (MS3)
  5. Educational Series

1. International Spacecraft Design Policies for On-orbit Servicing

The lifetime of a spacecraft is mostly influenced by increasing requirements on the payloads and the lifetime of its critical components. A critical failure may lead to the loss of the satellite, pose safety hazards or give rise to new space debris objects. Launch of new satellites to replace older satellites in-orbit is also a costly process. Therefore, increasing the lifetime of satellites is of great interest to satellite operators.

Recently, the concept of orbital servicing has been studied in order to tackle some of the problems listed above. However, a number of obstacles have prevented the implementation of orbital servicing. The most important among these is the configuration of current satellites, whose design does not take into account maintenance or refueling interfaces. Learning from the errors of the past, the next generation of spacecraft could be designed with maintainability and servicing in mind. Considering the international context of space activities, a crucial first step in achieving this goal is to formulate a set of mutually agreed upon guidelines and engineering standards to direct the inclusion of maintainability as a design parameter for the next generation of spacecraft.

This project will take an interdisciplinary approach to:

  • identifying spacecraft subsystems which could be targeted for on-orbit servicing;
  • suggest design guidelines for serviceable components;
  • analyze costs, benefits and long term economical downfalls;
  • analyze legal issue related to on-orbit servicing;
  • suggest international policies to set a standard in the space community for on-orbit servicing.

The goal is to provide a baseline for the international development of orbit servicing policies with the required technical, economical and legal aspects taken into account.

Team Members:

Current Members: Yuval Porat (Team Lead) - Juan Ramon Medel Caceres - Jeremy Chan-Hao Wang -  Nicolò Carletti - Nikita Chiu - Caroline Thro

Former Members: Aureliano Rivolta (Team Lead) - Alaa Hussein - Lorenzo Ferrario - Leila Ghasemzadeh - Ciro Borriello


Aureliano Rivolta, Lorenzo Ferrario, Ciro Borriello, Juan Ramon Medel, Leila Ghasemzadeh, Jeremy Chan-Hao Wang, Seyed Ali Nasseri, Matteo Emanuelli, “International spacecraft design policies for orbital servicing”, International Astronautical Congress 2015, Jerusalem, October 2015.

Back to top


2. Risk Analysis for a Manned Mission to Venus

Venus seems to have been almost forgotten by the human space exploration community, which currently focuses only on Mars and the Moon. The Venusian atmosphere and planetary environment seems more challenging than Mars’ or the Moon’s, and manned missions to the planet are hardly ever considered.
Not only Venus is the closest planet to Earth, but it also presents compelling opportunities for scientific studies on greenhouse gases and climate change, as well as surface processes and geophysics. Therefore, a human mission to Venus would have an immense scientific return with a direct impact on our understanding of our planet’s atmospheric evolution.
After exploring the benefits of exploring Venus, this project aims to assess risks involved in sending humans to Venus, and how such risks could be overcome. Moreover, far reaching visions such as long term presence on or near Venus are explored.

Team Members:

Current Members: Hamed Gamal (Team Lead) - Carlos Manuel Entrena - Bora Aliaj - Johanna Pardo - Sanjay Lakshminarayana - Elizabeth Barrow - Mahmoud Mohsen

Former Members: Tonatiuh Larios Calderon - Carmen Felix - Olugbenga ogunmodimu  - Tuan Ho 

Back to top


3. Low Power Electrical plasma Thruster for CubSats

Recent advances in micro- and nanosatellite technology has led to the design of complex missions requiring on-board propulsion systems with high specific impulse and power efficiency. Electric propulsion seems a definitive choice for such missions, offering 40 % propulsive efficiency compared to conventional propulsion systems and maximum specific impulse of 1700 seconds.

The aim of this project is to analyze the feasibility of using electric propulsion systems on nanosatellites for different classes of missions. Different electric propulsion concepts are assessed, with their impact on the sustainable use of outer space and operational safety of the satellite in mind. 

Team Members:

Current Members:  Vaibhav Mallikarjuna - Sourav Karmakar - Nourhane Nader - Veronica Botti - Divyesh Patel

Former Members: Rajendrasing Uttamsing Rajput (Team Lead)

Back to top


4. Mars Spacesuit Safety (MS3)

Recently, there has been an increased interest in a Human Mars mission. Such a mission is described as the next logical step in human exploration of the Solar system and it may hold the key to answering whether life can flourish outside our planet. In the past, Mars is suggested to have had the right environmental conditions to support life, including liquid water and a dense atmosphere. However, that is no longer the case: Mars presents an inhospitable environment, and we need to consider many aspects of life support and habitability to keep a potential crew alive on the surface. One of the most crucial elements of a manned mission to Mars would be a space suit that would allow the crew to perform EVAs (Extra vehicular activities). In this project, the team will investigate the major existing hazards associated with the design of space suits for Mars exploration, defining their risk, identifying possible procedures and technologies that might reduce those risks, and analysing whether, from a safety point of view, what the critical elements are and what can be done to assure the crew safety.

Team Members:

Current Members: Carlos Entrena (Team Lead) -  Laura Bettiol - Jessica Piness - Funmilola Oluwafemi - Istvan Revesz

Former Members: Joao Lousada (Team Lead) - Ying Luo - Pierre Bertrand

Back to top


5. Educational Series

The education series program tries to raise awareness of space safety and sustainability issues and acts as a starting point for young researchers wishing to enter this field. The three volumes of this series include:

Team Members:

Current members:  Ali Nasseri (Team Lead) - Laura Bettiol - Bora Aliaj - Veronica Botti - Carmen Felix - Elizabeth Barrow
Former members:  Yuval Porat - Claire Duval - Carmen Felix - Sourav Karmakar - Ying Luo - Hari Shankar - Kate Becker - Emmanouil Detsis - Chijioke (CJ) Nwosa - Vesna Palevska - Minoo Rathnasabapathy - Mahsa Taheran - Ekaterina Rezugina - Romy Seth


Back to top

© 2006-2018   Space Generation Advisory Council  |