This area will cover relevant news of the threat to the planet from Near Earth Objects (NEOs) including concepts and designs for mitigation. All opinions are those of the author.

27 February 2006

Article on European Space Agency’s Don Quijote Asteroid Deflection Mission

"Despite its playful name, taken from Miguel de Cervantes’s classic novel, the European Space Agency’s Don Quijote mission is deadly serious. Slated for 2012, the $180-million mission will attempt to move one of two target asteroids, just identified this fall, by rear-ending it with a speeding spacecraft. Quijote is the first venture of its kind, although the B612 Foundation, a privately-funded nonprofit based in Tiburon, California, intends to launch a similar effort by 2015."

"Rear-ending Rocks in Space"
Gregory Mone
Popular Science
January 2006

ESA's Don Quijote mission consiss of 2 spacecraft: one spacecraft (Hidalgo) will impact an asteroid of approximately 500 m diameter at a relative speed of at least 10 km/s, the other spacecraft (Sancho) will rendezvous and remain in orbit around the asteroid for several months before and after the impact. Public information indicates that the Don Quijote spacecraft set would have a total payload launch mass of around 1 MT. Public sources also indicate a launch using a Soyuz-Fregat launch vehicle (now most likely a Soyuz/ST launch vehicle that has a payload of 2 MT at a c3 = 0).

Link: Article


  1. Is this ESA Don Quixote / Quijote mission really this old? I just learned about it a few days ago from the Discovery Channel.

  2. Yes. This is concept study mission currently looking for funding as far as I am aware of. They have been examining the concept for a few years. Even though they are in two separate ESA mission type categories (notionally perhaps based upon funding levels, Don Quijote is a lower cost mission than Marco Polo), I do not know how ESA will resolve having two asteroid missions in the pipeline. Both however, do not have funding to proceed as far as I am aware so time will tell which one (if both) get full funding for development and launch.


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