• Deep space orbit determination and guidance of the LICIACube microsatellite mission
  • Gai, Igor <1991>


  • ING-IND/05 Impianti e sistemi aerospaziali


  • Recently, the JPL's MarCO mission demonstrated that these probes are also mature enough to be employed in the deep space, even though with the limitations related to the employed commercial components. Currently, other deep space CubeSats are planned either as stand-alone missions or as companions of a traditional large probe. Therefore, developing a dedicated navigation suite is crucial to reaching the mission's goals, considering the limitations of the onboard components compared to typical deep space missions. In this framework, the LICIACube mission represents an ideal candidate test-bench, as it performs a flyby of the Didymos asteroid system subject to a strong position, epochs, and pointing requirements. This mission will also allow us to infer the capabilities of such microsatellites and highlight their limitations compared with the benefits of a lighter design and tailoring efforts. In this work, the OD and guidance methods and tools adopted for classical deep space missions have been tailored for the CubeSat applications and validated through extensive analyses. In addition, navigation procedures and interfaces have been designed in view of the operations foreseen in late 2022. The pre-launch covariance analysis has been performed to assess the mission's feasibility for the nominal trajectory and its associated uncertainties, based on conservative assumptions on the main parameters. Extensive sensitivity analyses have been carried out to understand the main mission parameters affecting the performance and to demonstrate the robustness of the designed trajectory and operation schedule in fulfilling the mission requirements. The developed system was also stressed by tuning the models to access different reconstruction methods for the maneuvers. The analysis demonstrated the feasibility of the LICIACube mission navigation in compliance with the mission requirements, compatible with the limited resources available, both in space and on the ground.


  • 2022-06-24


  • Doctoral Thesis
  • PeerReviewed


  • application/pdf



Gai, Igor (2022) Deep space orbit determination and guidance of the LICIACube microsatellite mission, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Meccanica e scienze avanzate dell'ingegneria , 34 Ciclo. DOI 10.48676/unibo/amsdottorato/10434.