Dr.ir. M.J. (Jeannette) Heiligers

Dr.ir. M.J. (Jeannette) Heiligers

Profile

Biography

I received my BSc and MSc in Aerospace Engineering from Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands in 2008, after which I briefly worked in the Dutch space industry as a junior project manager. I returned to academia and completed my PhD in Aerospace Engineering at the Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory (ASCL) of the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK, in 2012, where I continued as a Research Fellow, leading the research theme on 'Orbital Dynamics of Large Gossamer Spacecraft'. In August 2015, I returned to Delft University of Technology as a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow during which I was seconded to the Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research (CCAR) of the University of Colorado Boulder, USA. In June 2018, I became an Assistant Professor in the "Astrodynamics & Space Missions" group.

My research portfolio focuses on the development of new space applications through novel approaches to orbital dynamics and the use of low-thrust technologies, specifically solar sailing. Applications include continuous polar observation for climate science, advanced space weather warning and lunar observation and far-side communication for future human presence on the Moon.

Specific research interests include astrodynamics, trajectory optimisation, orbital control, low-thrust propulsion, solar sailing and space mission analysis and design.

Find me on LinkedIn here, on ResearchGate here, and on GoogleScholar here.


Awards

  • 2014, Women in Aerospace (WIA) - Europe Young Professional Award
  • 2013, Special Mention of the Jury of the EISC-ESA Space for Sustainability Award with the project-idea “Eyes on the Poles”
  • 2013, Best soapbox presentation competition at the UK Space Conference, Glasgow, United Kingdom: 5-minute soapbox presentation about solar sailing as enabling technology
  • 2013, Best engineering poster at the University of Strathclyde University Research Day
  • 2012, Postgraduate Ambition Award of the Institution of Engineering and Technology
  • 2012, Engineering Gold Award - SET for Britain: a prestigious poster competition organised by the UK Parliamentary and Scientific Committee at the House of Commons that brings together the scientific community, politicians, and the general public to showcase UK's thriving science and engineering base.
  • 2011, Best engineering poster at the University of Strathclyde University Research Day
  • 2010, Best engineering poster at the University of Strathclyde University Research Day
  • 2010, Best student paper award of the British Interplanetary Society at the 61st International Astronautical Congress, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2010, Best poster at the Engineering Faculty Research Day of the University of Strathclyde
  • 2007, Erasmus Student Prize awarded by NUFFIC, the Dutch organisation for international cooperation in higher education for internship at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • 2007, Best student paper award of the British Interplanetary Society at the 58th International Astronautical Congress, Hyderabad, India
  • 2001, Performance scholarship awarded by Delft University of Technology for excellence in high school final grades for Dutch, English, Mathematics, and Physics
Grants / Scholarships:
  • 2018, Delft Technology Fellowship for my position as Assistant Professor, TU Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2015, European Commission Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellowship for a 2.5-year Research Fellowship at TU Delft, the Netherlands, and the University of Colorado Boulder, USA
  • 2014, Royal Society of Edinburgh J.M. Lessells Travel Scholarship for a 3-month research collaboration at the University of Colorado Boulder, USA
  • 2012, Royal Aeronautical Society Aerospace Speakers’ Travel Grant to attend the 22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Charleston, USA
  • 2012, Institution of Engineering and Technology Travel Award to attend the 22nd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Charleston, USA
  • 2012, Women In Aerospace Europe Travel Grant to attend the 1st IAA Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, Porto, Portugal
  • 2011, IAC Student Participation Programme of the European Space Agency to attend the 62nd International Astronautical Congress, Cape Town, South Africa
  • 2010, British Interplanetary Society Travel Grant to attend the 61st International Astronautical Congress, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2010, Royal Academy of Engineering International Travel Grant to attend the 61st International Astronautical Congress, Prague, Czech Republic
  • 2007, Erasmus scholarship for internship at University of Glasgow, United Kingdom

Projects

  • Investigations into solar sailing astrodynamics, 2020-ongoing, International agreement with NASA Langley
  • SAILS - Solar Sailing for Space Situational Awareness in the Lunar System (PI), 2015-2018, European Commision Global Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (project number 658645)
  • Sunjammer (collaborator), 2013-2014, collaboration with l'Garde Inc. on the preliminary mission analysis for NASA's proposed solar sail technology demonstration mission Sunjammer
  • DLR/ESA Sub-L1 Space Weather Mission Technology Reference Study (collaborator), 2013, international collaboration on the preliminary mission analysis for a sub-L1 space weather mission
  • VISIONSPACE (PhD) - Orbital Dynamics at Extremes of Length-Scale, 2009-2014, European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Investigator Grant
  • MoonShot (collaborator), 2008-2009, project at the Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research (TNO) on a combined Raman/LIBS instrument for lunar exploration
  • European Student Moon Orbiter (ESMO) (intern), 2007, European student project on the mission analysis for the phase A feasibility study of ESA's European Student Moon Orbiter mission

Publications

Selected peer reviewed articles:     

Find a full list of articles and conference papers here.


Supervision

PhD:  

  • Livio Carzana, ongoing, "Solar-sail orbital dynamics in the near-Earth environment"
  • Andreas Borggräfe (co-supervisor), 2015, “Attitude Dynamics and Shape Control of Reflectivity Modulated Gossamer Spacecraft”. 
MSc (selection):
  • Gijs Leemans, ongoing, "Global optimisation of planet-centred solar-sail trajectories"
  • Jaime Negro Vadillo, ongoing, "Pole-sitter orbits in the elliptic restricted three-body problem"
  • Gonzalo Herrero Martinez, 2020, "Solar-sail sub-L1 mission concepts for advanced space weather warning"
  • Roderick de Boer, 2020, "Time-optimal transfers between planar solar-sail libration point orbits"
  • Olga Ramirez Torralba, 2020, "Ramirez Torralba, O. and Heiligers J., Mission Analysis of Space-Based Telescopes to Detect Impacting Near-Earth Objects, AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA, 2020"
  • Fernando Gamez Losada, 2020, "Gamez Losada, F. and Heiligers J., Distant-Circular Solar-Sail Orbits, a New Concept for Polar Observation of the Earth and Moon, AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, South Lake Tahoe, CA, USA, 2020"
  • Frederic Schoutetens, 2019, "Photon-sail trajectory optimization in Alpha Centauri using evolutionary neurocontrol"
  • Alvaro Fernandez Mora, 2019, "Fernandez, A., Heaton, A.F., and Heiligers, J., 2018, Solar-Sail Transfers from Invariant Objects to L5 Periodic Orbits, 7th International Conference on Astrodynamics Tools and Techniques, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany"
  • Daniel Villegas Pinto, 2019, "Villegas Pinto, D., Soldini, S., Tsuda, Y., and Heiligers, J., 2020, Temporary Capture of Asteroid Ejecta into Periodic Orbits: Application to JAXA’s Hayabusa2 Impact Event, AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum, Orlando, Florida, USA"
  • Tom van den Oever, 2018, "van den Oever, T.D. and Heiligers, J., 2018, On the Design of Transfers to Solar-Sail Displaced Orbits in the Earth-Moon System, 7th International Conference on Astrodynamics Tools and Techniques, Oberpfaffenhofen, Germany"
  • Merel Vergaaij, 2018, "Vergaaij, M. and Heiligers, J., 2018, Time-Optimal Solar Sail Heteroclinic Connections for an Earth-Mars CyclerActa Astronautica, Vol. 152, pp. 474-485"
  • Javier Duran Ventas, 2017
  • Julien Palamatti, 2017
  • Sander Hiddink, 2014
BSc: 
    • Mike Walmsley, 2014, “Planetary pole-sitter spacecraft using hybrid low-thrust propulsion”: Walmsley, M., Heiligers, J., Ceriotti, M., and McInnes, C., 2016, Optimal Trajectories for Planetary Pole-Sitter MissionsAIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 39 (10), pp. 2461-2468"

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