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Damien takes part in the International Astronautical Congress 2023

Published on

15 Dec 2023

TheInternational Astronautical Congress is an annual world congress. The event brings together the world’s space community to share their knowledge and discoveries about space exploration. The theme of this year’s 74th edition is “Global challenges and opportunities: give space a chance”. Global challenges and opportunities: give space a chance “took place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from October 2 to 6, 2023, and Damien Baclet took part.

What was your objective in taking part in IAC 2023?

I had the privilege of attending and speaking at theInternational Astronautical Congress, organized by the International Astronautical Federation. This annual event is the largest gathering of the aerospace industry, with 5 days of congresses and thousands of representatives from companies, organizations and space agencies.

There are also thousands of presentation proposals submitted, including one from myself: I’ve been selected by 3AF to represent France at the ” Student Conference “ISAE-SUPAERO, to present an article written as a synthesis of a research internship carried out at ISAE-SUPAERO, entitled ” An innovative mission concept to infer upper thermosphere air density using a torque-balanced CubeSat “.

Taking part in the IAC was a real opportunity for me and the rest of my career. I was able to present an article and thus complete my professional experience while discovering a number of exciting projects and players.

I would like to sincerely thank the Fondation ISAE-SUPAERO and its donors for the financial support they have given me to take part in this prestigious congress. Being able to organize this trip with all the constraints of a busy schedule in the middle of the new school year, which was my last at ISAE-SUPAERO, was no easy task, and the Foundation helped me enormously in facilitating this organization thanks to its support, for which I am extremely grateful.

Tell us about your article:

Damien Baclet

Introducing a new way to measure density at high altitude

This article proposes an innovative concept for measuring the density of the upper thermosphere. As the number of spacecraft in low-Earth orbit increases, so does the need for high-precision trajectory forecasts to better calculate collision risks and re-entry sites. A better understanding of the density of the upper thermosphere is therefore needed to complement the existing opportunity data collected by the CHAMP, GRACE, GOCE and Swarm missions.

To determine atmospheric density at altitudes of up to 600 km, an innovative mission concept is proposed on a CubeSat 6U, based on the compensated-momentum mechanism and relying on actuatable solar panels, fiber-optic gyroscopes and reaction wheels. Two solar panel configurations are studied as a function of altitude: the wind configuration with contra-rotated panels and the 0/90° configuration with a panel parallel and perpendicular to the air flow. The technical feasibility of the concept is proven using a dynamic Simulink model adapted from the EntrySat mission, showing that at 600 km altitude, a recovered density error of just 2% is realistic.

Additional data on the accuracy of the FOG and reaction wheels are nevertheless needed to validate the noise model as a whole. Overall, this paper validates the scientific case for a moment-compensated mission to deduce the density of the upper thermosphere, and investigates the impact of this innovative concept on mission design, particularly power generation and attitude control. Finally, a system analysis is provided to show that the scientific and technical requirements can be met.

If you were to sum up your experience :

The objective of presenting the article was achieved, with a 12-minute speech in English to summarize the work. This work was a first experience for me in such circumstances, a congress with passionate professionals in front of me, curious to understand my words and learn more about my intellectual path, in an international audience.

In addition, I achieved my second objective, which was to use this time to strengthen my attraction to the space sector andengage in discussions with professionals. This gave me the opportunity to meet professionals from various organizations, and to examine the opportunities that might be open to me for my final internship, should it take place abroad.

Finally, I also took advantage of this privileged moment at the heart of the global space ecosystem to attend a number of fascinating conferences during the congress.

If I had to pick a highlight of the conference in terms of presentations, apart from my favorite, Ispace, I’d have to say Elon Musk or Dan Scheeres. Each in their own field, these two personalities are very inspiring at the dawn of my professional career.

Finally, I had the chance to highlight ISAE-SUPAERO, 3AF and France’s space industry by winning a prize for my presentation: I was honored to be awarded the British Interplanetary Society Prize for Best Technical Paper, for the paper I wrote during my internship with the SSPA team in the DEOS department at ISAE-SUPAERO..

All in all, the experience was extremely enriching from a personal, professional, human and cultural point of view. The Foundation’s help was invaluable in relieving the financial pressure associated with this week, and enabled me to take full advantage of the conference week. I would therefore like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone at the Foundation who took part in the process of implementing and selecting my project.

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