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The Space Generation Advisory Council is a global non-governmental, non-profit (US 501(c)3) organisation and network which aims to represent university students and young space professionals to the United Nations, space agencies, industry, and academia.



15 September, 2016

SGAC and ASI are pleased to announce the winners of the ASI-SGAC Grant, which is provided by the Italian Space Agency (Agenzia Spaziale Italiana, ASI) in collaboration with SGAC.

The grant enables five outstanding university students regularly enrolled in a Master’s course (corso di laurea magistrale o specialistica), 2nd level Master’s course or a Doctorate course in an Italian university, to attend the 15th Space Generation Congress and the 67th International Astronautical Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico.


Within over twenty years, ASI became one of the most significant players in the world in space science, satellite technologies for Earth Observation (e.g. COSMO-SkyMed)

and the development of rover systems for exploring Solar System. Today, ASI has a key role at the European level where Italy is the third contributor country to the European Space Agency. In addition, ASI has always been a point of reference in the support and scientific education of young graduates and Italian researchers. The Agency's Education sector develops specific national and international programmes in partnership with universities, the Conferenza Nazionale dei Rettori (CRUI-the National Conference of University Presidents) and other space agencies that operate in Europe.

SGAC would like to thank ASI for their generous support and for making this scholarship possible.

Congratulations to all the winners and see you in Guadalajara, Mexico!

The winners are:


Andrea Antonello

Andrea was born in Venice, Italy. He obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Aerospace Engineering with honors from the University of Padova. He is currently enrolled in the last year of the Doctoral program at CISAS "G. Colombo", Padova. His PhD thesis is focused on the development of an anthropomorphic arm for the simulation of Orbital Servicing Maneuvers.

During his studies, and following a research semester at the University of California, Irvine, he became interested in control theory and robotics. During the years, he has had the opportunity to work on several projects at MIT, Boston University, University of California and, most recently, Georgia Tech. His interests are in the field of orbital robotics, space servicing operations, new technologies, sensor suites and applied stochastic control. Willing to master his knowledge of the industry, he is also currently enrolled in a MBA program at the Tippie College of Business, Iowa, for which he was awarded a full scholarship.

Besides space, Andrea enjoys playing guitar and building vacuum-tube amplifiers.

“I would like to thank ASI and SGAC for the scholarship and for the amazing surprise! It will be a great honor for me to represent my country at the IAC 2016 in Mexico. I have recently been working tirelessly for my PhD defense and was able to finally see the fruits of my research: it is time for me to present them to the space community. The International Astronautical Congress is the perfect showcase for this goal. Until then, ad maiora!”


Luigi Colangelo

Luigi Colangelo is currently enrolled as an NPI-PhD candidate in space systems and automatic control, in partnership between Politecnico di Torino (Italy), European Space Agency (ESTEC TEC-ECC) and Thales Alenia Space Turin (Italy). He graduated in 2013 from Politecnico di Torino and Politecnico di Milano (Italy) in Aerospace Engineering (double master degree), after having spent six months as an exchange student at ISAE (Toulouse, France).

Before graduating, he spent more than half a year working for his master’s thesis in future missions at ESA (ESTEC EOP-SF), being involved in the multi-mission simulators developed for future Earth observation missions.

During his NPI research experience, Luigi had the opportunity of working in multidisciplinary groups, including academia, the European Space Agency, and industry, focusing on very broad projects. These projects  addressed both the technological and the theoretical sides, in international and space-enthusiast environments. Having been fascinated by space research and technology for along time, Luigi is tremendously excited about the opportunity of facing complex and novel challenges daily, while pursuing a career in space.

“I heard about me winning the ASI-SGAC grant the very first day after my summer holiday week. Needless to say the feeling of joy as soon as my sight, gazing across the pile of unread emails, was caught by the subject: ASI/SGAC grant. Awesome! I am so glad and proud as well, to have earned this opportunity to join the Space Generation Congress and the IAC conference. Indeed, for a space and technology enthusiast like me, being able to personally contribute to these flagship events in the space sector is tremendously rewarding. What’s more, I can’t wait to spend some incredible time in Guadalajara having fun, enjoying the city, and networking with worldwide experts and young space-enthusiasts about the state-of-the-art in space technology and future hot trends in space sector.”


Daniele Mazzotta

Daniele Mazzotta is an Italian Ph.D. student at Politecnico di Torino. The aim of his research project is to study and find new Conflict Detection and Resolution (CDR) algorithms for optimal trajectories in congested air space. The project is conducted in collaboration with the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid.

He received his BSc. degree in aerospace engineering at Politecnico di Torino. The BSc. thesis project was focused on the analysis of a mathematical lumped model for the Pratt & Whitney JT9D-3A turbojet engine in the Boeing 747 actuation. After completing his first year of MSc., he joined  the two-year double degree Erasmus programme with Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. During this experience abroad, he strengthened his working skills and engineering knowledge on his principal areas of interest,  aerospace systems and space missions, as well as avionics and control systems for Communications, Navigation and Surveillance services.

The main topic of his MSc. thesis, finalised in July 2015, was “Guidance Navigation and Control Techniques for 4D Trajectory Optimisation Satisfying No-Fly Zone and Waypoint Constraints”. The main purpose of this research was to develop a new Flight Management System to control a commercial airliner along an optimized 4-dimensional trajectory, respecting time and path constraints, and avoiding a No-Fly Zone placed along this path.

Daniele Mazzotta also worked as a trainee at the European Astronaut Centre of the European Space Agency. During this period he achieved the conceptual design and the modelling of a stand-alone power system as electrical power supply of future human lunar missions.

“To win the ASI/SGAC Grant was a quite unexpected event. As soon as I heard the outcomes of the contest, I felt really thrilled and suddenly aware of the big opportunity ASI is giving me. Participating in the 67th International Astronautical Congress means for me to take part in a forum among numerous scientific entities skilled in space-related disciplines and activities. The goal - increase the multidisciplinary and international network of experts that work and cooperate between space agencies, industry and research.”


Simone Rafano

Simone Rafano got his Master of Science with honours in Space Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Department of Aerospace Science and Technologies. He had a working experience at ESA as a student placement for six months from June to December 2014. As a flight dynamics intern, he supported ESA-OMT Flight Dynamics in the analysis of the atmospheric destructive re-entry of the Automated Transfer Vehicle-George Lamaître. He developed an independent method for the re-entry safety boxes estimation, published at the 6th ICATT in Darmstadt (DE) in March 2016.

He took part in the ARDENT project, developed for the Space Mission Analysis and Design course. As a mission analyst, he designed low-cost trajectories for return trips to Mars for an autonomous robotic depot, supporting recursive heavy manned missions to Mars. The ARDENT mission scenario has been published at the 23th AIDAA conference in Turin (IT) on November 2015 and a further publication, more specific on the rendezvous strategy, at the 26th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting in Napa (CA, USA) in February 2016.

In addition, he got involved in two other projects. As member of the Politethers team, he took part to the SatLeash project, which investigates the dynamics and control of towing tethers for space applications through microgravity experimentation in a parabolic flight campaign, sponsored by ESA Fly Your Thesis! 2016 programme. As team leader for the ACME project, he competed in the ESA Moon Challenge contest, proposing an innovative scenario for the exploitation of the lunar resources to reduce future space missions costs and increase Earth-devoted systems competitivity. The most relevant scientific results of these projects are going to be presented at the 67th IAC in Guadalajara (Mexico).

“The opportunity to take part in the Space Generation Congress and the International Astronautical Congress, made possible thanks to the Italian Space Agency’s support, is for me an important confirmation of the worth of the work done with commitment and passion. I am proud to have been selected among several deserving candidates and I am extremely glad to take this opportunity to present to the scientific community the idea developed together with my colleagues of the ACME team.”


Salvatore Sarno

Salvatore Sarno received both his Bachelor's Degree and Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Naples "Federico II", Italy, with a thesis on novel satellite constellation design approaches for discontinuous coverage. Since 2015, he has started a collaboration with the Department of Industrial and Information Engineering, Second University of Naples, at first as a research fellow and then as a PhD student. Currently, he is involved in research activities dealing with distributed space systems for remote sensing. His main interests rely on innovative Earth Observation mission concepts based on synthetic aperture radar and formation flying.

“I am really excited about this opportunity. It is my great honor to participate for the first time in the Space Generation Congress and the International Astronautical Congress and I am sure it will be a valuable experience both from personal and professional point of view. Therefore, I would like to gratefully thank the SGAC and the ASI for this chance.”


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