The Técnico alumnus Frederico Francisco has recently been awarded the 2018 Zeldovich medal, conferred by the Commission for Space Research (COSPAR) and by the Russian Academy of Sciences, becoming the first Portuguese scientist to receive this medal. This distinction is a recognition of his work is based on a method previously used for the Pioneer and Cassini probes, which solve the Pioneer anomaly problem.
Frederico Francisco got his PhD from Técnico in 2014 under the supervision of professor Orfeu Bertolami and co-supervision of professor Paulo Gil. His PhD thesis entitled “Trajectory Anomalies in Interplanetary Spacecraft” earned him a Springer Verlag award in 2015. Currently, Frederico Francisco carries out his research activity at Centro de Física do Porto (CFP) and he is involved in several projects that cover a wide range of topics, such as: micro and nano satellites, thermally induced acceleration of the New Horizons spacecraft to explore Pluto and, more recently, the construction of a physical model to understand the transition from the Holocene to the Anthropocene.
These medals are awarded every two years since 1990 for each COSPAR’s scientific commission. Frederico Francisco won a Zeldovich Medal in the scientific commission “Fundamental Physics in Space”.