The following is an excerpt.

Honor and glory to Rannveig Marie Færgestad, who has received the Norwegian Industrial Forum for Space Activities (NIFRO) prize for the best space-related master’s thesis.

Award ceremony, female prize winner in the middle
President of NIFRO Onno Verberne (left), Randi Marie Færgestad and head of the jury Jøran Grande from Andøya Space Education.

Rannveig Marie Færgestad wrote her MSc thesis at SFI CASA in spring 2021. The title was «Modeling and simulation of hypervelocity impact against debris shields for spacecraft protection». When we talked to her back then, she called it her dream thesis.
Obviously, the space industry had a taste for it, too.

GOOD NEWS FOR SPACE PLAYERS

NIFRO and Andøya Space  hand out the NIFRO-Award for the best space-related master thesis every year. NIFRO announced Færgestad as the winner at the annual Space Conference’s industry dinner in Oslo on 10 May.
In their justification, the Jury states that “Space debris is a growing threat to current and future low-Earth spacecraft. There will be a need to meet this threat to ensure the future exploration of space. Here, protective shields can be a significant contributor».
Further, they recognize that Færgestad presents a valuable approach to modelling impact. «The candidate ensures that the spacecraft of international and Norwegian space players can withstand potential collisions and contribute to a sustainable future in low earth orbit».

ISSUES DISCUSSED AT A VERY ADVANCED LEVEL

The Jury announced that the candidate had worked on a complex task with mathematical modelling, simulation, and results processing. According to the justification, «… the thesis requires the candidate to translate physics knowledge into models and compare experimental data. Issues are discussed at a very advanced level».
In addition to the honour and glory that come with it, the prize is 20 000 NOK.

READ MORE: Her Research can Make Space a Safer Place  
READ ALSO:  Head Impact and Space Debris at LS-DYNA

PROMOTING THE INTERESTS OF THE NORWEGIAN SPACE INDUSTRY

The Norwegian Industrial Forum for Space Activities (NIFRO) is the national industry organization formed to promote the interests and growth of the Norwegian space industry. NIFRO was founded in 1986 by a group of research institutions and companies interested in space activities. Today, the organization represents a broad range of companies in the space sector’s upstream, downstream, and service segments. Start-ups, SMEs, larger companies and research institutions are on the member’s list.

A NEW APPROACH – WORTHY OF FURTHER INVESTIGATION

Portrait of young female in a mechanical lab

Rannveig Marie Færgestad, who has been a true space enthusiast for several years, is well into her first year as a PhD student at SFI CASA. In her master’s work, she applies a coupled numerical method converting failed solid elements into discrete elements. Then, she compares this method to experimental results and other numerical results from the literature. She is happy, proud, and honoured to receive the award.
«The method proved suitable for modelling hypervelocity impact and shows promising results worthy of further investigation through my PhD project».

DIVING FURTHER INTO MODELLING HYPERVELOCITY IMPACT 

Head of the SIMLab research group. Professor Tore Børvik was her primary supervisor. Co-supervisors were Dr Jens Kristian Holmen (Enodo as), Dr Kevin A. Ford (NASA) and Tiziana Cardone (ESA).  Now, she is one year into her PhD studies, supervised by Børvik, Holmen, Ford and Professor Odd Sture Hopperstad.
«I have enjoyed getting to know all my colleagues at SIMLab. It is exciting to dive further into modelling hypervelocity impact».

READ MORE:  PhD Student Rannveig Færgestad has Embarked on her Space Mission

PREPARING AN EXPERIMENTAL TEST CAMPAIGN

Currently, they are preparing for the first experimental test campaign with aluminium shields. The tests will form the basis for her 2nd article. The remaining projects will likely focus on advanced, lightweight materials relevant for space applications, such as composites or 3D-printed metal.
«Further on, we are planning some longer exchange stays with some of our collaborating partners in the space industry».
When asked to reveal her dream career scenario, she is clear:
«The dream scenario is to live and work in space, but if not, I’d like to keep working as an engineer and researcher to contribute to a safe and sustainable future in space».

Read about the purpose of the NIFRO-Award here. 

Here is the Jury’s full justification for the NIFRO-Award (translated fromNorwegian):

Space debris is a growing threat to current and future low-Earth spacecraft. There will be a need to meet this threat to ensure the future exploration of space. Here, protective shields can be a significant contributor.

Experimental shocks at extreme speeds are expensive and can only be performed in a few laboratories globally, which makes numerical simulations a key tool in the development and design of protective shields.

The recent year’s increasing focus on sustainability for space actors provides greater joint responsibility. We must ensure that collisions with space debris do not cause critical damage to spacecraft. Besides, any collisions create as few new fragments as possible.

This year’s winner of the NIFRO award presents a valuable approach to modelling collisions. The work ensures that the spacecraft of international and Norwegian space players can withstand potential collisions and contribute to a sustainable future in low earth orbit.

The candidate has worked on a complex task with mathematical modelling, simulation, and results processing. The thesis requires the candidate to be able to translate physics knowledge into models and comparison of experimental data. Issues are discussed at a very advanced level.