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Participation of 3 students in the Pegasus 2022 Conference

Published on

11 Jun 2022

The PEGASUS conference is held annually and provides an opportunity for selected students to present their work at scientific meetings. In 2022, three students went from April 20 to 22 to Pisa, Italy.

The Pegasus Conference

The PEGASUS network theoretically gathers 25 schools in 9 countries (Germany, Space, France, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, and Sweden). Each year, the PEGASUS network organizes a student conference with both a formative goal (to help students write a scientific paper and to propose a technical oral presentation) but also a competitive goal since each step (paper and presentation) are graded. At the end of the competition, a podium and 10 students are selected to propose their article in the Aeronotica magazine.

The 2022 edition took place in Pisa, with 41 students and 38 papers presented. For the distribution: 17 Italy, 6 France, 5 Spain, 1 England, 1 Czech Republic, 1 Slovakia, and 5 from China.

Three students were selected to represent ISAE-SUPAERO:

  • Lucas Lange, graduate engineer 2021
  • Nathan Magnan, 2021 graduate engineer
  • Antonio Finozzi, graduate engineer 2021

Lucas Lange

“InSight Pressure Data Recalibration, and its Application to the Study of Long-Term Pressure Changes on Mars.”

The conference as a whole was a positive experience. It was very interesting to meet engineering students from all over the world to discuss our vision of tomorrow’s aeronautics (especially in the perspective of green aviation, and the impact on our school training).

I am proud of my performance and of the third place I was awarded. It is really the result of a team effort, which shows the very healthy and benevolent relationship between the students – teachers and administration of sup’. All my class (outgoing unfortunately) agree that this close relationship has allowed us to have excellent years at sup, as much for the student life as for the training (we have to work a little …) as this third place attests! I would like to thank Alek, Richard, Emmanuel and Scott for the time they devoted to my work and their kindness.


Finally, I wanted to thank the Foundation for its help. Indeed, without his financial contribution, I would have had to pay the plane tickets by myself, which can be difficult for a PhD student (who unfortunately has a precarious status in France …)

Describe your subject a bit

Observations of the permanent CO2 ice cap at the south pole of Mars in the 2000s suggested that the cap was eroding, possibly releasing a significant amount of CO2 into the atmosphere. To test this hypothesis, we compare surface pressures recorded by Viking in the 1970s and those recorded by InSight in 2018-2021 to confirm or deny the suspected increase in atmospheric mass. After establishing our comparison method, we correct for the influence of sensor temperature on InSight’s pressure data, discovered during our investigation. Comparison of the pressure data, as well as orbiter images of the seasonal caps, reveals no change in the atmospheric mass or dynamics of the seasonal caps that develop over the course of the Martian year. These findings are reinforced by the reanalysis of pressure data recorded by the Curiosity rover. Only small interannual changes are observed, potentially related to the effect of dust storms that occurred on Mars between 2016 and 2018. Finally, we report a possible pressure deficit at the MSL location during the southern hemisphere summer, potentially explained by the unusual presence of dust in the crater air.

This participation allowed me to 1) increase my network and give it a European dimension, especially among the few scientists present 2) to give even more visibility to my work at the LMD.

A bit of a “tribute” to all our teachers and actors of the DFI, it seemed important to me to participate in this conference to make the school shine internationally as best as I could.

After a first internal selection phase, I was selected with two other students to represent the school in the competition. We then began a first phase of writing the scientific paper that served as the first criterion for the competition. In reality, this was more of a rewriting phase of my original paper

Nathan Magnan

“Orbital Plane Alignment: A new way to probe black holes in galactic nuclei”

It was a very good experience, I was able to meet students from all over Europe. In fact, this is probably the main benefit of my participation. I’ve seen the very diverse paths that aerospace students take after graduation, it’s pretty inspiring.

Thanks to the foundation for funding my participation in the conference, thanks to ISAE for selecting my work, and thanks to the help of Aleksandar, Emmanuel, Richard and Scott during the preparation!

Describe your subject a bit

My work focuses on the very long term orbital dynamics in galactic centers. The idea (roughly summarized) is that the Galactic center is very old (109 years), while the orbital parameters of objects in the Galactic center vary on a fast time scale (106-8 years). Thus, the galactic center has most likely had time to reach its equilibrium state. This implies that in order to interpret an observation of the galactic center, we need to build a theoretical model of the equilibrium state of the galactic center. This is the long-term research project of my supervisor.

During my internship, I focused on the steady state of the orbital planes. I found that at equilibrium, the heavy stars and black holes all gather in a disk, and that the thickness of this disk depends on the mass function of the black holes. This is an important result, because black hole specialists have been trying for decades to measure the mass function of black holes, and the dependence I found suggests an experimental method, which is moreover applicable in the next ten years – as soon as the new generation of giant telescopes (TMT and E-ELT) will be in operation. This remains a simple proof of concept, which must gain in robustness before it can be used in practice. Nevertheless, it is an encouraging proof of concept, so we decided to publish it in a scientific journal (MNRAS).

So I presented this work at the PEGASUS conference. The objective for me was twofold: to represent ISAE-SUPAERO, and to train myself to popularize science. I will say that I met each of my goals halfway. I didn’t win the competition but my work came out on top (7th place), and I got advice on my paper but not on my presentation.

Antonio Finozzi


I would like to deeply thank the ISAE-SUPAERO Foundation and the donors for the financial support it has given me to participate in this conference. They allowed me to cover all my travel expenses to Pisa from Toulouse, where I currently work. Being able to organize this trip with all the constraints of a full-time job, especially outside of academia, was not an easy task and the Foundation helped me facilitate this process with their support, for which I am extremely grateful.

Describe your subject a bit

The subject of my work was the multibody modeling of large flexible spatial lattice structures for structure/control co-design applications. With the latest trends in high-precision pointing for space applications, the flexibilities of the structures must be taken into account to cope with the various challenges introduced by these behaviors. This is an extremely multidisciplinary field, where structural engineering and control considerations must merge to reduce the influence of these effects on space payload pointing.

Extensive research is being conducted in this area, including the development of new modeling tools for flexible appendages and structures.

Two-input, two-output port modeling approach (TITOP). Multiple complex systems have been presented in recent years in the context of this topic, but without ever focusing on complex multibody closed-loop mechanisms.

The research I did during my 6-month internship at ISAE Supaero focused on the development of new structural systems to model and predict the dynamic behavior of large space lattice structures.

My presentation sparked a stimulating discussion about the methods and methodologies of my research, creating a stimulating conversation about the current state of the art in the field even after my presentation was over. In addition, I particularly appreciated the human aspects of the conference. I met more than 30 other European students, all united by the same passions and the same vision. It was an incredible opportunity to network with some of the best engineering students and future professionals in Europe. I was able to get in touch with several of them, as well as some of the professors at the conference, and I hope this can be the beginning of future collaborations. I was also able to get in touch with the two other ISAE Supaero students, meet them and spend a few days with someone who shared part of his university career with me.


In conclusion, although I did not win the competition, my experience at the Pegasus Conference was remarkably positive. For this, I must thank my university, ISAE Supaero, which selected me to participate in this exciting experience. Specifically, the professors Emmanuel Zennou, sleep. Scott Delbeq, dott. Aleksander Joksimovic and dott. Richard Pearson for the organization, support, and feedback they gave me in writing the article and preparing my speech. I was really able to grow and improve my writing and speaking skills thanks to their extremely valuable feedback, both formal and technical.