Special Issue "Advances on Autonomous Navigation for Spacecraft Proximity Operations and Formation Flying: Algorithms Development and Verification Methods"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Astronautics & Space Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2023) | Viewed by 265

Special Issue Editors

Department of Aerospace Science and Technologies, Politecnico di Milano, 20156 Milan, Italy
Interests: autonomous GNC; Artificial Intelligence; formation flying; proximity operations; spacecraft navigation; orbital dynamics
Department of Aerospace Science and Technologies, Politecnico di Milano, 20156 Milan, Italy
Interests: active debris removal; space system engineering; Artificial Intelligence for autonomy; In Situ Resource Utilization; model-based system engineering

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Spacecraft autonomous navigation has become the enabling technology for future space missions, entailing delicate operations around target bodies, being either cooperative spacecraft or uncooperative elements. Robust and adaptive autonomous systems are crucial to achieving mission objectives that require minimal interaction with the ground. The recent advent of artificial intelligence to solve specific shortcomings of classical algorithms has pushed the applicability of autonomous navigation to different scenarios and domains, from image processing to system identification. A major challenge that slows down the implementation of such algorithms in real space missions is the validation and verification process, which is objectively challenging given the hard reproducibility of the domain in which the system flies.

This Special Issue aims to provide an overview of recent advances in autonomous navigation for spacecraft proximity operations and formation flying as well as to establish the state of the art on V&V activities and facilities to increase the TRL of the algorithms. Authors are invited to submit full research articles and review manuscripts addressing (but not limited to) the following topics:

  • Cooperative relative navigation sensors and architectures
  • Uncooperative relative navigation sensors and architectures
  • Line-of-sight navigation
  • Range-only navigation
  • Relative navigation filters
  • Pose estimation techniques
  • Artificial Neural Networks for image processing
  • Artificial Neural Networks for temporal data processing
  • Algorithms for system identification of unknown bodies
  • Rendezvous and Proximity testing facilities
  • Dataset generation, image rendering tools and functional engineering infrastructures for PIL/HIL verification activities

Dr. Stefano Silvestrini
Prof. Dr. Michèle Lavagna
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • spacecraft
  • proximity
  • rendezvous
  • testing
  • processor-in-the-loop
  • hardware-in-the-loop
  • autonomous navigation

Published Papers

There is no accepted submissions to this special issue at this moment.
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