Spacecraft and drone guidance, navigation, and control for space and Arctic remote sensing.


Guidance, navigation, control, and manufacturing of aerospace vehicles.

Research description

Dr. Ferguson's research explores how low-cost aerospace systems (spacecraft and drones) can be used to support researchers and Northern communities with timely information that is immediately useful. The aerospace industry has long been associated with high price tags and extremely long development schedules. Advances in big data analytics, navigation, adaptive control, and machine learning all show incredible potential for invigorating the aerospace sector, but risk aversion still drives design decisions. Aerospace, as an industry, needs technologies that improve the trust of these new technologies so that we can "make space" for more than just government agencies with billion dollar budgets. By researching safe, reliable, and trustworthy technologies, backed by modern computing, data management, and advanced manufacturing, we can "make space" for communities, "make space" for research, and "make space" for industry.

Graduate Student Opportunities

Dr. Ferguson is seeking students interested in spacecraft and drone dynamics and control with applications in remote sensing and vehicle coordination.

Selected Publications

T. Zhang and P. Ferguson, “Optimal Reaction Wheel Disturbance Avoidance via Torque Allocation Algorithms,” Accepted to the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 2022.

M. Patel and P. Ferguson, “Drone-Based Cable-Suspended Payload Tracking and Estimation Using Simulated LiDAR Measurements and an Extended Kalman Filter,” Submitted to the AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, 2022.

M. Driedger, A. Asgari, and P. Ferguson, “Feasibility Study of Resident Space Object Range Measurements using In-Orbit Observers,” In press, IEEE Journal of Radio Frequency Identification, 2022.

S. Connell, D. Applin, N. Turenne, E. Cloutis, C. Kiddell, A. Parkinson, J. Kuik, S. Sidhu, P. Mann, P. Ferguson, M. Driedger, J. Campos, A. Barari, V. Reddy and S. Mertzman, “A Novel CubeSat Mission to Study the Effects of Space Weathering of Geological Materials: The Iris CubeSat Payload Description,” Revision requested, Advances in Space Research, October 2021.

T. Zhang and P. Ferguson, “Optimal Reaction Wheel Control with Stiction and Resonance Avoidance,” In Press, Space Ops Journal, Jan, 2022.

A. Barari, R. Dion, I. Jeffrey and P. Ferguson, “Testing Satellite Control Systems – With Drones,” IEEE Potentials, vol 41, no 1, pp 6-13, Jan-Feb 2022.

J. Campos and P. Ferguson, “Decentralized Project Management Concept for Schedule-Critical Space Projects”, Journal of Aerospace Systems, 4(3), 191-200, 2021.

M. Braga, M. May and P. Ferguson, “Auto-link UAV to CAD: A Software Tool that Bridges the Gap between UAV Design Optimization and CAD”, Revision requested for the Canadian Journal of Unmanned Vehicle Systems, April 2021.

V. Platero, P. Ferguson, R. Jayaraman and D. Isleifson, “2-in-1 Smart Panels: Embedding Phased Array Patch Antennas within Satellite Structures”, Acta Astronautica, 175(October, 2020): 51-56.

M. Driedger, M. Rososhansky and P. Ferguson, “Unscented Kalman Filter Based Method for Spacecraft Navigation Using Resident Space Objects”, Journal of Aerospace Systems, 3(3), 197-205 2020.

V. Parthasarathy and P. Ferguson, “Modelling and Simulation of the Power Subsystem of a LEO Satellite”, Journal of Aerospace Systems, 3(2): 139-146, 2020.

Driedger, Matthew, and Philip Ferguson. "Feasibility Study of an Orbital Navigation Filter Using Resident Space Object Observations." Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics (2020): 1-7.

A. Yahyaabadi, M. Driedger, N. Turenne, S. Connell, V. Parthasarathy, A. Carvey, V. Platero, J. Campos, M. Rososhansky and P. Ferguson, “ManitobaSat-1: A Novel Approach for Technology Advancement.”, IEEE Potentials, 34(4), July 2020.

A. Emmanuel, J. Raghavan, R. Harris and P. Ferguson, “A Comparison of Radiation Shielding Effectiveness of Materials for Highly Elliptical Orbits,” Advances in Space Research 53 (2014) 1143-1152.

W. Kinsner, D. Schor, R. Fazel-Darbandi, B. Cade, K. Anderson, C. Friesen, S. McKay, D. Kotelko and P. Ferguson. "The T-Sat1 Nanosatellite Design and Implementation Through a Team of Teams." IJCINI 7.1 (2013): 32-57. Web. 29 Nov. 2016. doi:10.4018/jcini.2013010102.

L. Stirling, K. Wilcox, P. Ferguson and D. Newman, “Kinetics and kinematics for translational motions in microgravity during parabolic flight.” Aviation, Space and Environmental Medicine, June 2009, 80(6):522-31.