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Danielle R

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


satellite-based navigation, model-based estimation, Kalman filters, orbital mechanics, Global Positioning System, stochastic processes, probability and statistics, MatLab coding, writing scientific papers (equation-heavy) in LaTeX, creating figures on Adobe Illustrator


Danielle Racelis obtained a bachelor’s degree (2014) in mechanical engineering from University of the Philippines, and a bachelor’s (2017) and master’s degree (2019) in aerospace engineering from University of Arizona. She is an aerospace engineering PhD candidate at Virginia Tech, working on navigation integrity using multi-constellation GNSS and LEO satellite constellations. She loves playing guitar, dancing Bachata, playing management video games, watching Kdramas, and playing with her two dogs (Tycho and Kepler). She is fluent in English and Tagalog, and is a NAUI-certified scuba diver.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Kessler Syndrome and the Space Debris Problem

Kessler syndrome refers to a scenario in which objects orbiting the Earth collide to create numerous smaller objects, in such a way that the number of collisions and new objects cascades. The result is a maelstrom of debris blanketing the Earth, endangering both manned spacecraft (ISS) and unmanned satellites (weather satellites, Direct TV satellites), and impeding further space travel. The objective would be to write a research paper which (1) explains the science behind the space debris problem (might require rudimentary orbital mechanics), (2) consolidates historical events and decisions that brought on the space debris problem, and (3) evaluates ongoing and potential solutions to ameliorate the space debris problem. The scope of work could be limited to a qualitative analysis, or it could incorporate satellite orbit simulations on MatLab. (Image via University of Miami)

Coding skills


Languages I know


Teaching experience

I was a class preceptor for Physics II: Introductory Electricity and Magnetism. Several preceptors are assigned to a class of 100 students or so. The objective was to guide the students through problem sets that supplement the course lecture. A student can raise their hand, and then the closest preceptor helps them out. I strived to develop an intuitive understanding of the material, so I was quite effective. Most of the students quickly realized this, and I found that most of them looked to me for their questions. I am also a graduate research assistant to a research group, where we're regularly introduced to undergraduate students interested in doing mini research projects with my adviser. The other PhD students and I try to help them out as much as we can.



University of the Philippines Diliman
BS Bachelor of Science (2014)
Mechanical Engineering
University of Arizona
BS Bachelor of Science (2017)
Aerospace Engineering
University of Arizona
MS Master of Science (2019)
Aerospace Engineering
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Aerospace Engineering

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