Mission design of DESTINY+: Toward active asteroid (3200) Phaethon and multiple small bodies

Naoya Ozaki, Takayuki Yamamoto, Ferran Gonzalez-Franquesa, Roger Gutierrez-Ramon, Nishanth Pushparaj, Takuya Chikazawa, Diogene Alessandro Dei Tos, Onur Çelik, Nicola Marmo, Yasuhiro Kawakatsu, Tomoko Arai, Kazutaka Nishiyama, Takeshi Takashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


DESTINY+ is an upcoming JAXA Epsilon medium-class mission to fly by the Geminids meteor shower parent body (3200) Phaethon. It will be the world's first spacecraft to escape from a near-geostationary transfer orbit into deep space using a low-thrust propulsion system. In doing so, DESTINY+ will demonstrate a number of technologies that include a highly efficient ion engine system, lightweight solar array panels, and advanced asteroid flyby observation instruments. These demonstrations will pave the way for JAXA's envisioned low-cost, high-frequency space exploration plans. Following the Phaethon flyby observation, DESTINY+ will visit additional asteroids as its extended mission. The mission design is divided into three phases: a spiral-shaped apogee-raising phase, a multi-lunar-flyby phase to escape Earth, and an interplanetary and asteroids flyby phase. The main challenges include the optimization of the many-revolution low-thrust spiral phase under operational constraints; the design of a multi-lunar-flyby sequence in a multi-body environment; and the design of multiple asteroid flybys connected via Earth gravity assists. This paper shows a novel, practical approach to tackle these complex problems, and presents feasible solutions found within the mass budget and mission constraints. Among them, the baseline solution is shown and discussed in depth; DESTINY+ will spend two years raising its apogee with ion engines, followed by four lunar gravity assists, and a flyby of asteroids (3200) Phaethon and (155140) 2005 UD. Finally, the flight operations plan for the spiral phase and the asteroid flyby phase are presented in detail.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-56
Number of pages15
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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