Edward Tomanek-Volynets

Email: e.tomanek-volynets.1@research.gla.ac.uk

Research title: Space Trajectory Design Using Artificial Intelligence

Research Summary


I graduated with a MEng in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow in 2023, with a final year dissertation on optimisation of low-thrust space trajectories. I currently work in the Space and Exploration Technology group of the James Watt School of Engineering, pursuing a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, supervised by Dr. Matteo Ceriotti and Professor Colin McInnes. In addition to my research, I have been involved in delivering a number of undergraduate engineering courses since 2021.

Current research

I am exploring the use of machine learning to accelerate the design of multi-target space missions, with applications such as space debris removal, asteroid exploration and satellite servicing. Such missions often involve a large pool of potential destinations (up to thousands) so conventional methods for selecting a group of them to visit, and the order in which to visit them, become prohibitively time-consuming due to their combinatorial complexity. Solving these problems also involves time-intensive optimisations of orbital transfers between individual pairs of destinations. My research uses reinforcement learning to tackle these two problems; learning how to obtain optimal solutions without needing to commit to resource-intensive model-based, iterative optimisation. Two outcomes are anticipated: a higher-level framework that has learnt to select the optimal sequence of targets, and a lower-level solver that can quickly output the optimal orbital transfers making up the mission.

Broader research interests

Whilst the main focus of my PhD work is on multi-target mission design and machine learning, I have broader interests in a number of areas:

  • High-efficiency space trajectory optimisation/optimal control methods in general, whether conventional or ML-based.
  • Spacecraft control with high specific impulse propulsion such as electric thrusters and solar sailing.
  • Improving the sustainability of our use of space.


My research is funded by an EPSRC DTP scholarship.


Proof-of-concept results from the initial stages of the research have been accepted as an interactive presentation at the Interational Astronautical Congress 2024 in Milan.


I undertake teaching assistant and marking duties on the following courses: