Evaluation of Orbital Maneuvres

More and more satellites are launched into our Earth’s orbit every year. In February 2023, more than 7100 operational satellites are traveling at multiple kilometers per second above our heads to perform their mandated tasks. Space is big, but the operational orbits are however limited. This yields the importance of the prediction of the orbital traffic for any satellite operator, for which a knowledge of the remaining maneuver capability is critical, especially for the expected transparency of a real space traffic management (STM).


The objectives are to develop a method to estimate the applied thrust produced by the propulsion system (be it chemical or electric) for any satellite on the basis of orbital data. This determination will mainly focus on the analysis of the performed orbital maneuvers and the consideration of environmental perturbations such as atmospheric drag and solar activity. As a result, the student would be able to identify the remaining propulsion capacities of a satellite. To perform this project, the student will have access to the data and software acquired, developed and maintained by the Space Domain of the Swiss Armed Forces.

Required skills

For the good realization of the project, it is recommended that the student have:

  • General understanding of the orbital dynamics and propulsion systems
  • Programming skills in Java or python
  • Ability to appraise and adapt the project to fulfill the needs of the Space Domain operation team
  • A sense of responsibility and quality work for applications supporting operations 365 days a year.

Place of work

The student will have the opportunity to work in a stimulating environment with other students in different locations (Lausanne, Bern, Zurich) in Switzerland depending on the needs of the projects.