Trajectory options for low-cost missions to easily retrievable objects

Dong Qiao, Colin McInnes

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Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are of contemporary, since asteroids and comets
hold the key clues to understanding the origin of the solar system and the formation of the planets, and also have a speculated wealth of material resources. The exploitation of these resources has been discussed as a means to lower the cost of future space endeavours. Recent, a new family of so-called Easily Retrievable Objects that can be transported from accessible heliocentric orbits into the Earth’s neighbourhood at affordable costs, have been presented. In this paper, the trajectory options for low-cost missions to EROs are explored. We consider a wide variety of multi-impulse transfer, gravity-assist transfer and gravity-assist transfer with mid-maneuvers to obtain low launch energy and rendezvous trajectories to EROs. There trajectories are constructed by analytic and numerical search methods, and hybrid optimization algorithms including global search and local search to find the optimal rendezvous opportunities. The best rendezvous opportunities for currently known EROs in the next 20 years are reported. The relevant mission costs are analyzed. A discussion of general characteristics of the various trajectory types is followed.
Original languageEnglish
PagesPaper IAA-AAS-DyCoSS2-14-06-06
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2014
Event2nd Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, DyCoSS2 - Rome, Italy
Duration: 24 Mar 201426 Mar 2014


Conference2nd Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems, DyCoSS2


  • near Earth objects
  • easily retrievable objects
  • trajectory optimisation
  • rendezvous trajectories
  • Earth orbit

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