Dr. Elena Fantino
Dr. elena fantino Associate Professor Aerospace Engineering

Contact Information
elena.fantino@ku.ac.ae

Biography

Dr. Fantino graduated in Astronomy and earned a PhD in Space Sciences and Space Technologies from the University of Padua in Italy. She held several positions both in industry and in academia, specialising in space mission analysis, space geodesy, space astrometry, celestial mechanics and astrodynamics and partecipating in several projects of the Italian Space Agency and the European Space Agency. After holding prestigious post-doctoral positions in Italy and Spain, she served as a lecturer and later as an associate professor in the School of Aeronautical Engineering of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. Dr. Fantino joined the Aerospace Engineering Department of Khalifa University in 2017. Since then, she has played a leading role in developing the space technologies curriculum of the Department. As of 2022, Dr. Fantino has advised more than 40 students at undergraduate and graduate level both locally and internationally, and has mentored many junior colleagues and research staff. Her research is supported by Khalifa University's grants and research centers (KUSTIC) and by several international collaborations. Dr. Fantino has published 40+ top-tier journal articles and 70+ conference contributions. She serves in the Astrodynamics Technical Committee of the International Astronautical Federation, she is a member of the Space Dynamics Group of the Technical University of Madrid and an appreciated reviewer for the majority of the leading peer-reviewed international journals of her field. Dr. Fantino holds a well-established network of international collaborations and participates in several cutting-edge research projects. She has founded the Astrodynamics research group of Khalifa University and has been leading it since 2017.


Education
  • MSc in Astronomy - University of Padua / Padua - Italy
  • PhD in Space Sciences and Space Technologies - University of Padua / Padua - Italy

Teaching
  • Astrodynamics and Mission Analysis (SCED468)
  • Space Systems Engineering (AERO652)
  • Spacecraft Design (AERO485)
  • Spacecraft Systems and Design (AERO485)

Affiliated Research Institutes/Centers
  • Khalifa University Space Technology and Innovation Center

Research
Research Interests
  • Astrodynamics
  • Celestial Mechanics
  • Space Geodesy
  • Space Situational Awareness

Research Projects

Building next generation orbit propagation and analysis capabilities (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2022 cycle, PI: E. Fantino, Co-PI: Hadi Susanto - Mathematics Department)

The project  seeks to expand the trajectory analysis software of the Astrodynamics group of Khalifa University with capabilities for 

1) propagation of mean orbital elements in N-body systems with the inclusion of complex perturbations such as interactionsbetween non-spherical shapes of celestial objects and their effect on the translational and rotational dynamics

2) application of Lagrangian descriptors to the identification of dynamic structures in systems containing a spacecraft and several celestial bodies.

 

Efficient design of optimal low-energy trajectories to Near Earth Objects (joint work with Embry Riddle Aeronautical University / Daytona Beach - Florida, Purdue University / West Lafayette - Indiana)

The project focuses on the development of an efficient technique to design optimal spacecraft transfers from the Earth's vicinity to Near Earth Objects. The method exploits the natural dynamics of the circular restricted three-body problem and the analytical properties of the two-body problem. The current version of the method is applied to the design of trajectories to low-inclination NEOs. Unstable invariant manifold trajectories or transit orbits emanating from planar Lyapunov orbits around L1 or L2 of the Sun-Earth CR3BP often intersect the orbits of NEOs. Two-body approximations of these trajectories far from the Earth yield a simple analytical model to compute rendezvous opportunities.

 

Modern Methods in Celestial Mechanics and Applications: orbits, transport and control (funded by Spanish Ministry of Science and Innovation and European Union, joint work with Polytechnic University of Catalonia / Barcelona - Spain)

The project focuses on the development of methodologies to further understand the underlying nonlinear dynamics and introduce low-thrust control techniques with application to new emerging of solar sail technologies. 

Novel approach to the design of gravity-assisted trajectories (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2018 cycle)

Long-term orbital evolution of decommissioned geostationary satellites (joint work with Sapienza University of Rome /  Rome - Italy and International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering /  Barcelona - Spain)

Genetic optimization of satellite constellations (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2018 cycle, joint work with Mr. Hazem Elrefaei - Mechanical Engineering Department and Dr. Andrei Sleptchenko - Industrial and Systems Engineering Department)

Design and optimization of low-thrust spacecraft trajectories (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2018 cycle, joint work with University Carlos III of Madrid / Leganés - Spain and International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering / Barcelona - Spain)

Design of planetary moon exploration tours leveraging the invariant structures of the circular restricted three-body problem  (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2018 cycle, joint work with University Carlos III of Madrid / Leganés - Spain, International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering / Barcelona - Spain and Italian National Research Council / Milan - Italy)

Strategies for low-cost orbit insertion at the giant planets: the case of Saturn (supported by Khalifa University's Competitive Internal Research Award - 2018 cycle, joint work with University Carlos III of Madrid / Leganés - Spain, International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering / Barcelona - Spain and Italian National Research Council / Milan - Italy)

Development of a methodology to design 3D transfers in multi-body systems satisfying a variety of boundary conditions (joint work with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University / Daytona Beach - Florida and Purdue University / West Lafayette - Indiana)

Review of methods for the solution of Lambert's problem (joint work with Technical University of Madrid - Spain, Polytechnic University of Catalonia / Barcelona - Spain, International Center for Numerical Methods in Engineering / Barcelona - Spain)


Research Staff and Graduate Students:

Staff
Dr. Roberto Maurice Flores Le Roux Senior Research Scientist
Dr. Burhani Makame Burhani Postdoctoral Fellow
Students
Chiara Pozzi Ph.D. Student
Alessandro Beolchi Ph.D. Student
Vacancies

PhD thesis:  Science applications of Halo orbits around outer planet moons. Available from January 2023. Department: Aerospace Engineering.