Pioneering in space

The Library is well known for its impressive wall, containing over 50.000 books. A further 900.000 are stored one floor below the hall. Yet this is only the tip of the iceberg of resources that are on offer. 95% of the information is available online. You may not visit the building frequently, but still be in daily contact with the Library through your desktop. In this series we will feature scientists and the way they use resources for their research.

Angelo Cervone, assistant Professor of the Department of Space Engineering at the Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, is pioneering in the field of micro-propulsion systems for small satellites (CubeSats or even smaller). “At the moment TU Delft has already sent two of them in space, but these small satellites are getting more and more in demand. Their size makes them cheaper, easier to launch and with less regulations to meet, most importantly they are more versatile. For example, they can be used to make a constellation of satellites. Together they can take pictures of the whole earth every day. This would not be possible with one large satellite.”

We are looking for innovative ways to steer the satellite with ‘green’ fluids


Prototype of a CubeSat

Prototype of a CubeSat micro-propulsion system 


Angelo and his team are studying the best options for propulsion. “We are looking for innovative ways to steer the satellite by ejecting “green” and friendly fluids, such as water. At the start of our research we looked at books and papers, especially on the theory. Most publications are available online*, mainly using Google Scholar. However, this is a relatively new research area, so there is not a lot available. Because we are pioneering, fellow scientists are often looking at us as the main source of information. However, there is a big interest also from the general public; for example, I gave an interview for an article in The New Scientist magazine.”


Other scientific articles by Angelo and his team can also be found via the Library search engine World Cat Discovery.

Info box:

*The availability of online publications is determined by the licences that the Library has arranged with the publishers. Open Access publications are available without these licence agreements. WorldCat Discovery is the Library search engine. However, it is not necessarily the first source for finding (scientific) articles and conference papers. Databases such as Scopus, Web of Science Core Collection, IEEE Xplore, SPIE and SciFinder are more suitable for finding papers on this subject.

Stay up to date with the state of the art

Angelo Cervone

Angelo Cervone

Resources are not only important to set the theoretical framework. Throughout the research it is important to stay up to date with the state of the art. “For improvement in the micro-propulsion technology there are more resources available. Our competitors are looking at other fluids or other techniques for propulsion, but they often run into similar physical problems. We can learn from their solutions to put us in the right direction. Again, not a lot has been published on our subject yet, and usually the most interesting information can be found in conference papers. I find that search engines are not always powerful when you look for conference proceedings. Journals are easy to find, conference papers not so. Similarly, not many researchers are referring to my work yet**, simply because my research field is relatively new and not many people are working on it.”


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**Citations do not necessarily come from within the same field of research. It is possible that other fields benefit from your expertise and cite a researcher for that reason. Via the above-mentioned databases you can trace in which fields and how often Angelo is cited. The Library can help with mapping his field with a wide search analysis. We can also advise on other options for increasing academic visibility, such as choosing the right journal and sharing via networks like ResearchGate and social media.

The Library can help with finding the right resources and can advise on how to make an impact with your publications. On the website you can find Virtual Knowledge Centres, which show you a preselection of resources per faculty, e.g. databases, patent information, standards, and more. Of course, you can also contact the Library if you have specific requests, after all our online collection is more and more demand-driven.


More information:
Or contact the micro-propulsion research team:

Angelo Cervone (Assistant Professor)
Barry Zandbergen (Senior Lecturer)
Vidhya Pallichadath (Systems Engineer)
Tatiana Perez Soriano (Electronics Engineer)
Samiksha Mestry (Lecturer)
Dadui Cordeiro Guerrieri (PhD candidate)
Marsil de Athayde Costa e Silva (PhD candidate)

Photography: Marcel Krijger
TU Delft Library