Space Safety and Sustainability


I initially joined the SGAC Space Safety and Sustainability project group in 2012, and was given the privilege of leading the project group from 2014 to 2016. During this time, we worked on multiple projects including active debris removal, on-orbit servicing, applicability of space debris removal to small satellites, space suit safety, and risk analysis for a one way human mission to Mars.

During my term as co-lead, 11 total projects were pursued by the SSS team, and through the introduction of a new proposal process for pitching new projects. These projects led to a total of more than 22 contributions in the form of papers, reports and presentations.

About the Project

1. Active Debris Removal Using Modified Launch Vehicle Upper Stages

In this project, we proposed an approach to remove space debris from polar earth orbits using modified launch vehicle upper stages. The maneuvers needed and the economics of such an approach were analyzed, along with the safety of passive or active deorbiting.

2. On-orbit Servicing

We analyzed the concept of on-orbit servicing and the importance of standardization in this realm. We also performed mission analysis for one mission concept to better understand the economic aspects of on-orbit servicing missions.

3. Nuclear Power Sources in Space

We provided recommendations from students and young professionals on this topic to the UN COPUOS Scientific and Technical Subcommittee.

4. On Way Human Missions to Mars

We analyzed the risks associated with a one way human mission to Mars, highlighting some of the reasons why such missions might not be a good idea.


  • Proposed and analyzed a mission for active space debris removal using modified launch vehicle upper stages
  • Developed policy recommendations on the need for standardization in order to enable on-orbit servicing
  • Analyzed mission concepts for future on-orbit servicing missions
  • Proposed recommendations on the use of nuclear power sources in space
  • Analyzed risks associated with a one-way human mission to Mars

Selected Publications

  • S. A. Nasseri, M. Emanuelli, “SGAC Space Safety and Sustainability Project Group - Reflecting the Views of the Next Generation for Five Years”, 7th International Conference on Recent Advances in Space Technologies (RAST), Istanbul, June 2015, doi: 10.1109/RAST.2015.7208404.
  • A. Rivolta, J. Wang, C. Thro, N. Carletti, S. A. Nasseri, J. Lousada, M. Emanuelli, “Analysis on spacecraft safety enhancement through on-orbit servicing”, 8th IAASS Conference, Melbourne-Florida, 2016, doi: 10.13140/RG.2.1.4029.9922.
  • J. Lousada, A. Rivolta, M. Emanuelli, S. A. Nasseri, “Identification of Hazards Associated with a One-way Human Mission to Mars”, 8th IAASS Conference, Melbourne-Florida, 2016.
  • C. Dubois, L. Bacsardi, M. Deiml, A. Kumar, S. A. Nasseri, A. Bartolini, J. Todd, K. Howells, "Policy Considerations for New Human Space Exploration Strategies: The Space Generation Perspective", International Astronautical Congress 2015, Jerusalem, October 2015.
  • D. E. Chiuri, A. Turconi, A. Hussein, N. Nader, S. Raval, M. Emanuelli, S. A. Nasseri, “Active Debris Removal: Overview and Figures of Merit of Debris Grabbing Strategies”, International Astronautical Congress 2015, Jerusalem, October 2015.
  • S. A. Nasseri, M. Emanuelli, S. Raval, A. Turconi, C. Becker, Active Space Debris Removal using European Modified Launch Vehicle Upper Stages equipped with Electrodynamic Tethers”, 6th European Conference on Space Debris, April 2013 (ESA SP-723) [link].
  • D. P. Patel, A. Martin, S. W. Chiu, J. Lousada, A. Rivolta, S. A. Nasseri, “National research on space debris, safety of space objects with nuclear power sources on board and problems relating to their collision with space debris”, Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Scientific and Technical Subcommittee Fifty-third session Vienna, 30 January -10 February 2017 (A/AC.105/C.1/111).