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PhD Distributed Space Systems for Atmopheric density sensing

TU Delft is looking for an ambitious PhD candidate to work at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering to optimize the architecture of a distributed space system …

3 maanden geleden


Mekelweg, Delft, Zuid-Holland
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
38 - 38 uur
€ 2395 - € 3061 per maand


TU Delft is looking for an ambitious PhD candidate to work at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering to optimize the architecture of a distributed space system of small satellites to maximize science return on the characterization of atmospheric density at low altitude. The use of small satellites limits the sensitivity with respect to bigger platforms but it allows to easily implement multi-point measurements using constellations or loose formations. This mission would be based on GNSS measurements, complementing them with other systems to improve atmospheric sensing (miniaturized accelerometers, neutral mass spectrometer, drag control / compensation). An evaluation of the scientific return depending on instruments and mission configuration (multiple satellites, instrument selection and distribution across the swarm) will be used to select the most promising configuration. This project will be carried out at the Departement of Space Engineering within the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, taking advantage of the different groups experience in small satellite development and operations and GNSS-based atmospheric sensing and orbit determination. The project will tackle this multi-disciplinary problem by first deriving the scientific requirements to improve current atmospheric models at altitudes ranging from 100 to 300 km. Later, the focus will shift on instrument selection and satellite constellation optimisation: flight opportunities are expected to test a demonstrator. This would also provide an opportunity to fine-tune mission parameters and provide insights in the achievable performances.

The successful candidate conjugates a good theoretical knowledge with a hands-on and pragmatic attitude, fundamental to properly balance the scientific return of such a mission to fit within tight engineering requirements.


The candidate should have a master degree in Aerospace Engineering / Computer Science / physics or related fields with solid background on programming and/or simulation. We expect the candidate to be open-minded, creative, able to conduct high-quality research, with good communication skills and be able to work in a team with other PhD students, staff and students.

The candidate is expected to develop a simulation framework to asses and optimize mission performances and contribute to the development of a viable mission demonstrator as part of a wider team.


The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Coming to Delft Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

The TU Delft sets specific standards for the English competency of the teaching staff. The TU Delft offers training to improve English competency.

Inspiring, excellent education is our central aim. If you have less than five years of experience and do not yet have your teaching certificate, we allow you up to three years to obtain this.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Stefano Speretta, s.speretta@tudelft.nl