Mortari to speak on flower constellations

Daniele MortariDr. Daniele Mortari, professor in the Department of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University, has been invited to present the theory of flower constellations to several academic and industry audiences. Flower constellations are special satellite constellations whose satellites follow the same 3-D space track with respect to assigned rotating reference frame.

Mortari gave a presentation at Buffalo University this past weekend and will present to McGill University (April 4), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (April 6), Google (May 3) and NPS.

The flower constellations theory evolution began with Luigi Broglio’s “Sistem Quadrifoglio,” a four-satellite configuration to study how the upper part of the atmosphere — the troposphere — is affected by solar activity.

In 2003, Mortari generalized some properties of this constellation and created the original theory of flower constellations. This new way to design satellite constellations has generated interesting subsets such as the shape-preserving constellations, the rock around orbits and the two-way orbits.

Because of number theory mathematical properties, the theory has been generalized to the 2-D and 3-D Lattice versions and, finally, to the Necklace problem. The mathematics behind the design process uses number theory relationship.

Unexpected, untapped, and unexplored constellations can be created not only to improve the existing applications — communications, observation and  GPS — but also for potential current and futuristic applications. The art of designing orbits, satellite constellations and formations will have a large impact on the future space mission architectures and concepts.

Mortari works on the field of attitude and position estimation, satellite constellation design, and sensor data processing. In addition, he has taught at the School of Aerospace Engineering of Rome’s University and electronic engineering of Perugia’s University.

He received his doctorate degree in nuclear engineering from University of Rome “La Sapienza,” in 1981.  He is an IEEE and AAS Fellow, AIAA Associate Fellow, Honorary Member of IEEE-AESS Space System Technical Panel and former IEEE Distinguished Speaker.

He has published approximately 280 papers, and has been widely recognized for his work, including receiving a best paper award from AAS/AIAA, two NASA’s Group Achievement Awards, 2003 Spacecraft Technology Center Award, the prestigious 2007 IEEE Judith A. Resnik Award and the 2016 AAS Dirk Brouwer Award.