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Paolo Tortora

Full Professor

Department of Industrial Engineering

Academic discipline: ING-IND/05 Aerospace Equipments and Systems


Curriculum vitae


Paolo Tortora is a Professor at University of Bologna – Aerospace Campus Forlì - in the field of Aerospace System since 2017.


1997 Degree in Aeronautical Engineering (Univ. di Roma “la Sapienza”)

2001 PhD in Aerospace Engineering (Univ. di Roma “la Sapienza”)

2001-2002 Research contract with Dip. di Ingegneria Aerospaziale ed Astronautica, Univ. di Roma “la Sapienza”

2002-2006 Assistant Professor at Università di Bologna

2006-2017 Associate Professor at Università di Bologna


Courses taught at Università di Bologna since 2003:

Past Courses

- Aerospace Instrumentation (BSc - 6ECTS), a.y. 2002-03 – taught in Italian

- SpaceFlight Dynamics and Aerospace Instrumentation (BSc - 6ECTS), a.y.2003-04 – taught in Italian

- Fundamentals of Astronautics (BSc - 6 ECTS), from a.y. 2004-05 to 2010-11 – taught in Italian

- Avionics and Space Instrumentation (BSc) (BSc - 6 ECTS), a.y. 2012-13 and 2014-15 – taught in Italian

- Satellites and Space Missions (BSc – 6 ECTS) from a.y. 2015-16 to 2017-18 – taught in Italian

- Space Systems (MSc – 6 ECTS), from a.y. 2006-07 until 2008-09 – taught in Italian

- Dinamica e Controllo d'Assetto- (MSc – 6 ECTS), from a.y. 2010-11 to 2012-13 – taught in Italian

- Dinamica e Controllo Orbitale- (MSc – 6 ECTS), a.y. 2012-13 – taught in Italian

- Spacecraft Attitude Dynamics and Control (MSc – 6ECTS), a.y. 2013-14 and 2014-15 – taught in English

- Spacecraft Orbital Dynamics and Control (MSc – 6ECTS), from a.y. 2013-14 to 2015-16 – taught in English

Current Courses

- Aircraft On-board Systems (BSc – 9 ECTS), since a.y. 2006-07 until now – taught in Italian

- Fundamentals of Orbital Mechanics (BSc – 6 ECTS) since a.y. 2009-10 until now – taught in Italian


The research activity of Paolo Tortora, performed both in the academic environment and in collaboration with research centres, space agencies and national and international aerospace companies has been carried out in two different fields:

- The first is in the field of microsatellites and micro space systems, developed by leading the ALMASat (ALma MAter Satellite) project, the first microsatellite entirely designed and manufactured at the University of Bologna, and successfully launched on February 12, 2012.

- The second is in the field of planetary exploration and radio science experiments performed using signals received from interplanetary spacecraft.


He has been tutor of the following PhD dissertations on the following topics:

“Analysis, development and testing of cold-gas micropropulsion systems for microsatellite platforms”, (2006)

“Study, design and prototyping of optical systems for Earth observation”, (2009)

“Development of tropospheric calibration techniques for ground tracking of interplanetary probes”, (2009)

“Design and implementation of a novel multi-constellation FPGA-based dual frequency GNSS receiver for space applications”, (2011)

"Innovative Architectures of On-Board And On-Ground Radio Communication Systems for Space”, (2011)

“Investigation on The Anomaly of Navigation Pioneer 10 and 11 Probes”, 2011)

“Design and Implementation of an End-to-End Simulator for the BepiColombo Rotation Experiment”, (2011)

“An Integrated Transmission-Media Noise Calibration Software for Deep-Space Radio Science Experiments”, (2013)

“Enhancement of Trajectory Determination of Orbiter Spacecraft by Using Pairs of Planetary Optical Images”, (2013)

“Development of New Toolkits for Orbit Determination Codes for Precise Radio Tracking Experiments”, (2013)

“Design and Implementation of Software Solutions for Satellite Ground Segment, with Application to the ESEO Mission”, (2015)

“Design and Implementation of a GNSS Receiver and Navigation Computer for the ESEO Mission”, (2017)

“Development of methods for the global ephemerides estimation of the gas giant satellite systems”, (2018)

“Orbit Determination Techniques for Space Missions to Small Bodies”, (2020)

“Development of a ground testing facility and attitude control for magnetically actuated nanosatellites”, (2020)

“Deep Space Orbit Determination and Guidance of the LICIACube Microsatellite Mission”, (2021)

“Towards Automation of Constellation Management with Analytical Models for Collision Avoidance”, (2021)

“Simulation of Optical Observables for Space Missions to Small Bodies”, (2022)

“Deep and Near Space Tracking Stations in Support of Lunar and Planetary Exploration Missions”, (2022)

“Navigation design and flight dynamics operations of the ArgoMoon cis-lunar CubeSat”, (2022)



He has been also supervisor of 100 BSc and 45 MSc theses, during the reference period 2003-2021.


Chair of the “Control Theory” Session at AIAA Guidance, Navigation & Control conference, (AIAA GNC 2005)

Chair of “Missions” and “New Technologies” Sessions at ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S 2012)

Chair of “Navigation” Session at ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S 2014)

Chair of “New Technologies” Session at ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S 2016)

Chair of “Earth Observation” Session at ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S 2018)

Chair of “CubeSat Systems” Session at ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S 2018)


2002-2003: Visiting researcher at Surrey Space Centre, Guildford, University of Surrey (UK)

2003-now:Member of the Cassini-Huygens mission Radio Science Team

2004-2012: PI of ALMASat-1, the first microsatellite of the University of Bologna, successfully launched in February 2012

2004-2006: Co-I of the ESA SMART-1 mission to the moon Radioscience Experiment

2005-now: Experiment Manager and Co-I of the BepiColombo MORE (Mercury Orbiter Radioscience Experiment)

2006-2009: Co-I of the ExoMars LAnder RAdioscience (LaRa) experiment

2007-2008: Member of the Working Group “Solar System and Planetary Exploration” of the Italian Space Agency (ASI)

2007-now: Member of the JUNO (mission to Jupiter) Radio Science Team

2008-2012 Member of the joint "LAPLACE & TANDEM" Science Study Team as a European expert in the Radio Science area. LAPLACE & TANDEM are two Solar System candidate missions, pre-selected by ESA for the Cosmic Vision scientific program (ESA-HQ)

2013-now: Co-I of the JUICE (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer) 3GM (Gravity and Geophysics of jupiter and the Galilean Moons) experiment

In 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018 he is member of the technical committee of the ESA Symposium on Small Satellites Systems & Services (4S)

2015-now: member of the Scientific/Technical Working Group “Strategies for Next-Generation National Space Programs” of the Italian Space Agency (ASI)


Microsatellite/Micro Space Systems projects:

UniBO internal projects:

2003-2004 AMGS - Highly automated ground station for LEO spacecraft tracking, telemetry downlink and picture transmission at VHF-UHF and S-band

2006-2009 STARS – Standalone Three-Axis oRientation Sensor – Responsible for the H/W and S/W design, prototyping and experimental validation of an innovative Earth sensor for autonomous three axis determination of LEO satellites

2007-2010 ALMATracker, a high accuracy ground antenna control unit system, capable of pointing accuracies in the order of 0.01°

2013- FARB Feasibility Studies: Validation of communication protocols for formation flying satellites, by means of unmanned aerial vehicles

2013- AMGS enhancement – Design, assembly and test of a highly automated Mission Control Centre in support to the ESA ESEO microsatellite mission, operating at VHF-UHF and S-band.

Projects with private companies:

2004-2005 Alenia Space (Turin Plant) – Space tethers deployment system design

2005-2007 Carlo Gavazzi Space – Cold Gas Micropropulsion System and Measurement

2006-2008 Meccanica Aeronautica – UAV GNC and TT&C system

2007-2009 Thales Alenia Space Italia – Integrity algorithms for GNSS land navigation


2008-2009 ARMADA - Autorotation In Martian Descent And Landing

2009-2011 SCHEMES - Solar cell Holder & DACQ for new solar simulator

2013- ESEO – European Student Earth Orbiter. Development of an advanced GNSS receiver for autonomous, real-time, precise orbit determination.

2015- IPC - Development of Modular Multi-Use Payload Interface Electronics

2015- DustCube - Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) Cubesat Opportunity Payloads (COPINS)

MiUR (Italian Ministry of Research) projects:

2007- ALMASat-EO, the first Italian low-cost Earth Observation microsatellite

2003-2005 PRIN 2003: “Microvehicles fleets operating in a hostile environment”

2008-2010 PRIN 2007: “Techniques, Technologies and Tests for Formation Flying (T3F2)”

Radio Tracking / Radio Science projects:

ESA projects:

2005-2006 DDOR S/W Correlator for Deep Space Tracking (ESA-ESOC)

2006-2007 DDOR S/W Correlator Enhancement (ESA-ESOC)


2009-2010 RC-SIM: Radiocomm Signals: A “New” Way Of Probing The Surface Of Planets

2009-2011 RT-LANDER: Radio Tracking of a Landed Spacecraft: Determination of the Spacecraft Position and the Planet’s Ephemeris and Orientation in Space

2009-2011 OBRAS: Radio Science Experiment with On-Board Receiver

2010-2012 AWARDS: Advanced microWAve Radiometers in Deep space Stations

2010-2012 ASTRA: Interdisciplinary Study on Enhancement of End-to-End Accuracy for Spacecraft Tracking Techniques

2015- HELIOS: Highly rEliable LInks during sOlar conjunctionS


He is reviewer for the following international journals:

AIAA, Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics

AIAA, Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets

Elsevier, Digital Signal Processing

Elsevier, Planetary and Space Science

Elsevier, Advances in Space Research

IEEE, Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems

Automatic Control in Aerospace (Online Journal)


He is a member of the Editorial Board of:

2010- International Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Hindawi Publishing Corporation

2010- Journal of Small Satellites, A. Deepak Publishing

2012- Positioning (POS), Scientific Research Publishing

2013- Advances in Aerospace Science and Technology (AAST), Scientific Research Publishing

2014- International Journal of Aeronautical Science & Aerospace Research (IJASAR) - SciDoc Publishers


Paolo Tortora is author/co-author of 162 scientific papers indexed on Scopus, 88 published in peer-reviewed international journals and the others published in proceedings of national and international conferences. His papers have gained a total of 4906 citations by 3752 documents, achieving an H-index of 29 (considering only independent citations) (Scopus, 2023/12/03).

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