Stage : Internship / Low-thrust deorbiting and semi-controlled re-entry: models and tools (m/f)

Stage Par Airbus
  • Toulouse
  • A négocier
  • Graphisme / Multimedia

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Internship / Low-thrust deorbiting and semi-controlled re-entry: models and tools (m/f)

Internship / Low-thrust deorbiting and semi-controlled re-entry: models and tools (m/f)

Airbus Defence & Space Toulouse (ex Astrium SL)

Airbus Defence and Space is a division of Airbus Group, formed by combining the business activities of Cassidian, Astrium and Airbus Military. This new division is the leading aerospace and defence company in Europe, it represents the second largest company in the space field and is among the ten best international defence companies. It employs some 40,000 people and records a turnover of approximately 14 billion euros per year.

Airbus Group is a global leader in aeronautics, space and related services. In 2015, the Group - comprising Airbus, Airbus Defence and Space and Airbus Helicopters - generated revenues of € 64.5 billion and employed a workforce of around 136,600.

Our people work with passion and determination to make the world a more connected, safer and smarter place. Taking pride in our work, we draw on each other's expertise and experience to achieve excellence. Our diversity and teamwork culture propel us to accomplish the extraordinary - on the ground, in the sky and in space.

Description of the job

Airbus Defence and Space (Toulouse) is looking for an intern for a 6 month internship.

The accumulation of space debris in low Earth orbits threatens the long-term sustainability of space applications: current projections show that unless operators can successfully deorbit at least 90% of satellites after the end of their mission, cascading collisions will make the 700-to-900-km altitude range unusable before the end of the century. Stringent guidelines have been incorporated into French national law, making it mandatory for all spacecraft launched after 2020 to reenter the atmosphere within 25 years. Moreover, for medium-to-large spacecraft for which total disintegration is not guaranteed during atmospheric reentry, the risk that fragments reaching the ground could cause human casualties should be less than 0.01 %.

This mandates controlled reentry and therefore requires a very large de-orbit boost to lower the final perigee below 80km: the steep reentry trajectory, combined with a proper phasing of the last orbital arc, results in minimal dispersion of the debris over the uninhabited area of the South Pacific Ocean. However, this requires a costly propulsion system with very high capacity. In 2015, CNES has investigated the possibility of achieving the risk-reduction target with much lower thrust. In the so-called semi-controlled reentry approach, the perigee is lowered to ~150 km: the duration of the final orbital decay is still reasonably deterministic. Although the exact instant of reentry and fragmentation is unknown, the uncertainty will be typically less than a few orbits: optimal phasing of the final orbital plane with the Earth is sufficient to avoid the most populated regions and keep the casualty risk minimal.

This internship will start on 3 rd April 2017 (subject to some flexibility).

Internships at Airbus Group
Tasks & accountabilities

You will focus on completing and validating the set of tools and models which are central to the design of semi-controlled reentry strategies for future projects. Considering that these tools are to be used in a generic, advanced projects setting, some of them will be simplified versions of more complex existing tools.
The tools fall under 3 broad categories, corresponding to the main three phases of the semi-controlled reentry scenario: low-thrust controlled descent and phasing, final uncontrolled decay, casualty risk assessment.
The models are mainly atmospheric models, aerodynamic models, gravity models and orbit propagation.
The tools are then based on these models: trajectory simulations, prediction of impact point dispersion, casualty risk assessment. Associated graphical outputs are expected, in order to give the user valuable information on the strategy being simulated.

List the existing tools and models and review their associated maturity/validity level.
Identify and perform needed improvements, additional developments, and complementary validations are needed.

Required skills

You are in the 2nd year of a master's or the 5th year of engineering school, university or equivalent specializing in Engineering / Aerospace Engineering / Mechanical Engineering.

You ideally have an initial experience in this domain.

You have knowledge of:

·  Modelling and simulation
·  Space dynamics
·  Matlab / Simulink
·  Graphic visualization and user interface

You are a strong team player and have excellent interpersonal skills.

English: negotiation level,
French: negotiation level.

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