GTOC 5 – Penetrators

This edition was organised by Ilia S. Grigoriev and Maxim P. Zapletin from the Lomonosov Moscow State University, Faculty of Mechanics and Mathematics. The problem statement was released to the community on the 4th of October 2010. The whole edition was dedicated to the 80th anniversary of Vladimir Vasilievich Beletskij a Soviet and Russian scientist, corresponding member of Russian Academy of Sciences and professor at Moscow State University, and a prominent expert in celestial mechanics and spaceflight theory.

In a nutshell

Some small penetrators are to be delivered to as many asteroids as possible via a close fly-by. The asteroids first have to be visited (randezvous) and a main payload delivered, only then the penetrator can be deployed in a successive fly-by. The objective function rewards visits and penetrators deployed, as well as extra points for the asteroid Beletskij. Secondary performance indices, to break ties, are the final spacecraft mass and total time of flight.

The Winners

Led by Anastassios Petropoulos, the team from Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) won this edition with a trajectory designed entirely using low-thrust models (i.e. no chemical propulsion model was employed preliminarily)


The asteroid Beletskij was not selected by any of the returned trajectories.

Pictures from the GTOC5 workshop are available here.

The trajectory of the fourth ranked team is visualized in the video below.