Astrodynamics Competition Squad

The Astrodynamics Competition Squad (ACS) is a graduate student club affiliated with ARGoPS. The purpose of ACS is to coordinate teams of ARGoPS members to participate in aerospace/astrodynamics competitions and workshops, both nationally and internationally. Listed here are the competitions that ACS has participated in or is currently participating in.

Student Competition for the 2017 Astrodynamics Specialist Conference

Seven ARGoPS members participated in the first Astrodynamics Specialist Conference student competition. The competition was to design a space mission to investigate Asteroid (469219) 2016 HO3, providing additional details that will enable future, more in-depth missions to this body. There are a number of challenges and goals for such a mission design and development, and the competition was designed to expose new ideas that can satisfy these constraints in innovative ways. 

Participants from ARGoPS: Davide Conte, Andrew Goodyear, Jason Reiter, Ghanghoon Paik, Guanwei He, Matthew Shaw

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Global Trajectory Optimization Competition

ARGoPs fielded a team for the 2017 GTOC competition, hosted by ESA’s Advanced Concepts Team. The Global Trajectory Optimization Competition is an event taking place every one-two years over roughly one month during which the best aerospace engineers and mathematicians world wide challenge themselves to solve a “nearly-impossible” problem of interplanetary trajectory design. The 9th edition of GTOC proposed a scenario known as the Kessler effect, in which the density of orbital debris in Low-Earth Orbit becomes so high that any collision triggers additional cascading collisions. Teams were tasked with removing a set of 123 pieces of debris from a sun-synchronous orbit with a goal of minimizing launch mass and submission time. 

Participants from ARGoPS: Davide Conte, Andrew Goodyear, Jason Reiter, Ghanghoon Paik, Guanwei He, Matthew Shaw, Jeffrey Small

Awards: ARGoPS placed 23rd out of over 70 teams internationally, 7th out of all US teams, and 1st out of the US teams consisting solely of students.

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Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts – Academic Linkage 2016 

15 graduate students from 8 countries and 11 different universities worked to derive an architecture that delivers a crew of four to the surface of the Martian Moons for 300 days and lay out a series of Mars moons surface excursions driven by science, technology demonstration, ISRU and possible future human exploration site reconnaissance on Mars. 

Participants from ARGoPS: Davide Conte


  • “Best in theme” Award
  • “Best overall” award
  • PEACH (Pioneering Exceptional Achievement Concept Honor) Award

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International Gemini Mars Design Competition

Worked on the mission design of a space mission for a two-person Mars flyby to be launched no later than 2024 as cheaply, safely and simply as possible. This mission design was presented in September, 2016 at the Mars Society Convention.

Participants from ARGoPS: Davide Conte and Jason Reiter

Awards: Finalist

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ESA Moon Challenge 2015

The ESA Moon Challenge is an International Student Contest that focuses on human-robotic partnership for lunar exploration. HECATE’s winning project was published on Acta Futura (ESA journal).

Participants from ARGoPS: Davide Conte

Awards: 1st place at the ESA Moon 2020-2030 Symposium

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