Mission Functionality for Deflecting Earth-Crossing Asteroids/Comets

Sang Young Park, Daniel D. Mazanek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


A detailed optimization problem is formulated to calculate optimal impulses for deflecting Earth-crossing asteroids/comets, using nonlinear programming. The constrained optimization problem is based on a three-dimensional patched conic method to include the Earth's gravitational effects and the asteroid/comet's orbital inclination. The magnitudes and impulse angles of optimal ΔV are accurately computed at various points on the asteroid/comet's orbit to provide a given target separation distance. Interceptor mass (or energy) is estimated for various deflection strategies such as high-thrust engine, kinetic deflection, nuclear detonation, and laser ablation. The potential ability of each mitigation scheme, in conjunction with several future spacecraft concepts, is also described. The optimal ΔV and deflection strategy are dependent on the size and the orbital elements of the asteroid/comet, as well as the amount of warning time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-742
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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