GTOC 4 – Asteroids billiard

This edition was organised by Bertrand Regis of the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales. The problem statement was released to the community on the 2nd of March 2009.

In a nutshell

A spacecraft has to visit as many Near Earth Asteroids as possible by performing fast consecutive fly-bys to finally randezvous with a NEA. The objective function is the number of asteroid visited. Secondary performance indices, to break ties, are the final spacecraft mass and total time of flight.

The Winners

Led by Ilia S. Grigoriev, this edition was won by the team from Moscow State University with a trajectory visiting 44 asteroids in less than ten years.


Scientists would not agree, before this edition of GTOC, on how many asteroids could be encountered during a low-thrust interplanetary mission. The number 44 (in 10 years) appeared to scientific community as a positive surprise.

The second ranked trajectory, from the Aerospace Corporation, also visited 44 asteroid but had its secondary objective (mass) lower.