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Citing progress in producing plutonium-238, NASA will allow scientists proposing missions for an upcoming planetary science competition to use nuclear power sources.
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    Personal information
    Contact information
    Candidate Profile
     Date Submitted:27-03-2012
     Last Modified:28-03-2012 (07:55)
    Job information
     Current job:PhD Research Engineer
     Employment Term:Either
     Job location:Europe only
     Date available:immediately
     Industry:Civil Agencies/International Organizations, Satellite Manufacturers and Subcontractors, Satellite Operators, , , Consulting/Engineering Services, Space Tourism
     KeywordsOrbit Determination, Navigation, Radio Science, Cassini, BepiColombo, Juno

    Summary of Qualifications


    Experience in orbit determination methods for the analysis of radio science data from space missions. Wide knowledge of dedicated applications and softwares. Ability to analyze information and evaluate results to choose the best solution and solve problems. Capable of providing documentation and reports to tell others about research results and perspectives. Excellent communication, interpersonal skills and capability of team working.


    Professional Experience


    Radio Science Laboratory - Dipartimento di Ingegneria Meccanica e Aerospaziale - “Sapienza” University of Rome

    Research Assistant                            2009 – Present

    ·       Analysis of Cassini mission data for the determination of the gravity field of Saturn and its satellites using DPTRAJ-ODP software from NASA-JPL.

    ·       Determination of Rhea’s gravity field. Analysis of the correlations between gravity and topography.

    ·       Determination of Enceladus’ gravity field. Evaluation of the possible presence of a subsurface concentration of liquid water under the South Pole.

    ·       Determination of Titan’s gravity field. Estimate of eccentricity tides.

    ·       Development of software and tools to improve the orbit determination process.

    ·       Analysis of future missions profiles to assess the feasibility of radio science experiments.


    Caltech/NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Pasadena (CA), United States

    Visiting Researcher                             June 2011 – October 2011

    ·       Analysis of Cassini data for the determination of Titan’s eccentricity tides. Estimate of Love number k2.

    ·       Development of software and tools to improve the orbit determination process.

    ·       Estimate of Enceladus gravity field starting from its topography. Development of software and tools to perform this task.




    Theoretical background:

    ·      Orbit determination methods and matrix calculations algorithms.

    ·      Batch processing algorithms.

    ·      Tracking systems for deep space telecommunications.

    Computer Science:

    ·      Professional scientific computing and advanced programming using FORTRAN and MATLAB.

    ·      Good knowledge and experience with orbit determination software DPTRAJ/ODP.

    ·      Good knowledge of Windows, Unix e Mac OSX. Excellent experience with Microsoft Office programs (including MS-Word, MS-Excel, MS-PowerPoint) and with Adobe Acrobat Professional.

    ·      Good knowledge of Adobe Photoshop





    2010– International School Of Aerospace Engineering Applications – “Estimation Theory” – July 12-16, 2010, Bertinoro, Italy.


    2009– Starts a PhD in Aerospace Engineering at “Sapienza” University of Rome. Area of study: Radio Science data analysis for the determination of planets and satellites gravity fields.


    2009– Second Level Degree/Master in Astronautical Engineering.  “Sapienza” University of Rome. Final degree mark: 110 (out of 110) cum laude.Dissertation: The effects of topography on the estimate of Rhea’s gravity field. Advisor: Prof. Luciano Iess. Exams with mark:


    Fluid Dynamics


    Space Flight Dynamics


    Mathematical methods for engineering


    Space Environment and Instrumentation


    Space Technologies


    Physics for aerospace engineering


    Electronical Systems for space communication


    Satellite guide and navigation systems


    Interplanetary trajectories




    Mission design


    Propulsion systems


    Remote sensing systems




    2009– TOEFL IBT. Score: 106/120.


    2007– First Level Degree/Bachelor in Aerospace Engineering. “Sapienza” University of Rome. Final degree mark: 110 (out of 110) cum laude. Dissertation: Combined cycle engines. Advisor: Prof. Fausto Gamma. Exams with mark:




    Geometry and Algebra


    Aerospace basics


    Physics I










    Differential Calculus




    Aerospace materials


    Numerical analysis




    Mechanical Drawing


    Electrical Engineering


    Applied Mechanics


    Physics laboratory


    Structural Analysis and Design


    Aeronautical Plants


    Aerospace propulsion


    Aerospace structural Analysis


    Partial Derivate Equations


    Flight Dynamics


    Propulsion Laboratory


    Aerospace Technologies


    Mathematcal models for mechanics



    2004– Secondary school Diploma, Scientific Certificate. Final mark: 100/100.


    2003- First Certificate in English (FCE), University of Cambridge.  Score: B.



    Publications & Presentations


    o    M. Ducci, L.Iess, Titan tides, Titan Surface Workshop, Caltech, Pasadena (CA)

    o    M. Ducci, L.Iess, J.W. Armstrong, S.W. Asmar, R. Jacobson, N. Rappaport, D.J. Stevenson, P. Tortora, Enceladus’ gravity field inferred from range rate measurements of the spacecraft Cassini, EGU 2011, Vienna

    o   M. Ducci, L. Iess, B. Giese, R. Mackenzie, The effect of Tirawa impact basin on the determination of Rhea’s gravity, X Italian Planetary Science Congress, January 17-21, 2011, Bormio (SO).

    o   M. Ducci, L. Iess, B. Giese, R. Mackenzie, Rhea: a reorientation event detected from gravity measurements of the spacecraft Cassini, European Planetary Science Congress, September 19-24, 2010, Rome.

    o   M. Ducci, L.Iess, F.Barbaglio, Enceladus Gravity Field Analysis, Cassini Radio Science Team Meeting, June 11, 2010, Munich.

    o   L.Iess, R. Jacobson, M. Ducci, D.J. Stevenson, J. I. Lunine, J.W. Armstrong, S.W. Asmar, P. Racioppa, N. Rappaport, P. Tortora, Titan’s Eccentricity Tides, AGU 2011, San Francisco.

    o   L.Iess, J.W. Armstrong, S.W. Asmar, M. Ducci, R. Jacobson, N. Rappaport, D.J. Stevenson, P. Tortora, The Gravity Field of Enceladus, EPSC-DPS Joint Meeting 2011, Nantes.

    o    P. Racioppa, L. Iess, M. Ducci, Titan gravity and tides, X Italian Planetary Science Congress, January 17-21, 2011, Bormio (SO).

    o   L.Iess, J.W. Armstrong, S.W. Asmar, M. Ducci, R. Jacobson, N. Rappaport, D.J. Stevenson, P. Tortora, The Gravity Field of Enceladus, AGU 2010, San Francisco.

    o   P. Tortora, J. W. Armstrong, S. W. Asmar, M. Ducci, F. Barbaglio, L. Iess, R. Jacobson, M. Zannoni, N. Rappaport, P. Racioppa, Determination of Saturn’s gravity field from four dedicated flyby in the prime and equinox mission, EGU 2010, Vienna.

    o   L. Iess, B. Giese, R. Mackenzie, M. Ducci, Rhea: a reorientation event detected from gravity and topography, Cassini Project Science Group Meeting, June, 22-25, 2009, London.




                      English: good writing and speaking skills.


    Other experiences and skills


    As a volunteer I have been involved for seven years as a Scout Leader for the Italian Scout Association (AGESCI) organizing educational activities for young boys. I cooperated with the Harambee development project Ong taking part in two three weeks camps in Kenya in 2004 and in Ethiopia in 2009.




    PADI Open Water Scuba Diving Patent. Basketball player for 8 years

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