MSc thesis project proposal

Towards sustainable satellite swarms


Satellite swarms are an emerging mission architecture which offer a flexible, robust alternative to traditional space missions. However, the distributed, multi-agent nature of satellite swarms is at odds with the UN Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines and the philosophy of space sustainability. The distributed functionality which makes swarm missions so flexible and adaptable also means that many individual swarm agents have to be disposed of at end-of-life, rendering common approaches such as relying on passive atmospheric re-entry or migration to graveyard orbits problematic.

You will explore how monitoring and predicting the health of individual swarm agents can enable distributed optimization of the swarm at the end of its life. How can a satellite swarm reliably judge when its performance is too degraded to continue its mission? How can satellite swarms collectively predict the failure of individual swarm agents? Can a satellite swarm remain operational by providing it with a steady influx of fresh satellites?


A self-motivated student with a strong background in linear algebra and statistical signal processing. In addition, a student with strong interest or experience is distributed signal processing is preferred. Previous experiences in study, design or development of small satellites subsystems is an added advantage. Advanced coding skills in MATLAB and Python are required. Strong written and verbal communication skills in English are mandatory. The expected project duration is about 9 months.


dr. Raj Thilak Rajan

Circuits and Systems Group

Department of Microelectronics

Last modified: 2021-11-16