GTOC1: Competition Announcement
The ACT annonces the 1st GTOC:
Background: An important part in the design of a space mission is the optimisation of the spacecraft trajectory. Except for a few results limited to very particular transfers, the global optimality of the solution found is often impossible to prove and one is usually satisfied whenever the predefined requirements have been met, accepting the possibility that things could have been done better. The great appeal of global optimisation techniques is that they face this issue trying to find the best possible solution. The last decade has seen a flourishing of novel techniques to approach the problem of trajectory optimisation both locally and globally. A fair comparison between all these methods is difficult to be made and one usually judges the quality of a trajectory from the value of the objective function reached without considering the amount of human intuition and effort that has been put in the process.
The competition announcement: The Advanced Concepts Team of the European Space Agency is organising a competition, open to the wider scientific community, to find the best solution to an assigned interplanetary trajectory optimisation problem. The problem will be disclosed on November 7 th, 2005 and the participants will have three weeks to find and send back the solution in a predefined format. The solutions received will then be evaluated by ESA experts on the basis of the criteria published below. Selected groups will be invited to give a presentation at the Global Trajectory Optimisation workshop to be held in February 2nd, 2006 at ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands (accommodation and flight expenses will be reimbursed). A small prize will be awarded to the winner of the competition, the group that finds a feasible trajectory with the smallest objective function value.
Criteria of selection of the best trajectories: While the winner of the competition will be selected on the basis of the objective function value achieved, the selection of the groups to be invited to the workshop will also take into account other criteria such as the originality of the method, its potentialities in different trajectory optimisation problems and, more generically, the scientific value of the method proposed.
How to participate: Interested research groups should register via an e-mail to the address firstname.lastname@example.org by the November 1 st, 2005 stating their interest in the competition and containing a list of the researchers belonging to the group and the institution they are affiliated with. The subject of the e-mail should be “ACT Global Trajectory Optimisation Competition”. The list of all the successful applicants will be published on the ACT web site on November 1 st, 2005. The accepted groups (see conditions to participate) will receive the detailed problem description and the “rules of the competition” on November 7 th, 2005. The various trajectory options found will then be published on the ACT web site and the invitations to the workshop for the selected groups will be sent by December 15 th, 2005.
Conditions to participate: The competition is open to all groups affiliated to a research institute, a university department or a company. Please note that though the competition is organised by the European Space Agency, applications from non-ESA Member States are welcome. The competition is limited to 30 participating groups (15 reserved to European groups) and a “ first come first served ” criteria will be used for their selection.