GTOC 1 – Save the Earth

Logo of the advanced Concepts Team

This edition was organised by Dario Izzo of the European Space Agency’s Advanced Concepts Team. The problem statement was released to the community on the 7th November 2005.

In a nutshell

An asteroid deflection mission is to be designed. A kinetic impactor equipped with low-thrust engines is to be sent to change the orbit of a target asteroid. The quantity to be optimised is related to the momentum transferred to the asteroid.

The Winners

Led by Anastassios Petropoulos, the team from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) won this edition with a trajectory using a Saturn fly-by to invert the orbit angular momentum and inject the spacecarft on an hyperbola intersecting the asteroid orbit on a head-on collision.


The second ranked trajectory from Deimos Space, a team led by Bello Mora, actually turned out to be able to achieve a higher fitness value, when reoptimized by the JPL team.

The winning trajectory from JPL is the trajectory depicted in the GTOC trophy.

The trajectory problem was inspired by the Don Quijote mission of the European Space Agency