In this study, a preliminary trajectory design is conducted for a conceptual spacecraft mission to a near-Earth asteroid (NEA) (99942) Apophis, which is expected to pass by Earth merely 32,000 km from the Earth's surface in 2029. This close approach event will provide us with a unique opportunity to study changes induced in asteroids during close approaches to massive bodies, as well as the general properties of NEAs. The conceptual mission is set to arrive at and rendezvous with Apophis in 2028 for an advanced study of the asteroid, and some near-optimal (in terms of fuel consumption) trajectories under this mission architecture are to be investigated using a global optimization algorithm called monotonic basin hopping. It is shown that trajectories with a single swing-by from Venus or Earth, or even simpler ones without gravity assist, are the most feasible. In addition, launch opportunities in 2029 yield another possible strategy of leaving Earth around the 2029 close approach event and simply following the asteroid thereafter, which may be an alternative fuel-efficient option that can be adopted if advanced studies of Apophis are not required.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This research was supported by the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute under the R&D program (Project No. 2021-1-854-05) supervised by the Ministry of Science and ICT.
© 2021 The Korean Space Science Society. All Rights Reserved.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Physics and Astronomy(all)
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)