Team "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants" (SOTSOG) for the Space Debris competition.

Team "Deflect or Die" for the Asteroid Deflection competition.

Congratulations to the winners and many thanks to all participants!!!

The 'Andrea Milani' Challenge

A worldwide competition on parameter determination for asteroids and space debris

Summer 2021

The European Innovative Training Network Stardust-Reloaded has organised the “Andrea Milani” Challenge, in honour of the great Italian mathematician and astronomer Prof Andrea Milani who passed away suddenly in 2018. He was an early pioneer in asteroid impact monitoring, and a stalwart in the field of celestial mechanics. He was involved in several ESA missions including BepiColombo and JUICE, and with the creation of SpaceDys and the near Earth asteroid database NeoDys. The competitions was evolved through ESA´s platform Kelvins, as part of our agreement with ESA´s Advanced Concept Team, a partner of Stardust-R.

Stardust-Reloaded and ESA ACT team invited students and researchers from all around the world to compete in two challenges within the fields of asteroids and space debris monitoring and detection. These topics are part of a larger effort by Stardust-R, and others; critical for the long-term safety of our planet from space threats as well as the long term sustainability of the human presence into space.

Challenge Description

There were two challenge problems, each was numerical in nature on the topic of parameter estimation of either space debris or an asteroid. The problems pulled primarily from the fields of mathematics, physics and astrodynamics, computer science, and aerospace engineering.

For description of the asteroid deflection challenge, please visit the webpage:

For description of the space debris challenge, please visit the webpage:

STAGE I: Stage I was open to everyone in the world.Teams had to solve a complex numerical problem on parameter estimation for either space debris or asteroids, within a given time window. The solution to the problem was assessed by a single numerical metric.

All participating teams  were given a score (updated after each submission) at the Kelvins leaderboard. The teams with the best score were invited to participate in the Stardust-R Global Virtual Workshop on Space Traffic Management and Resilient Space Environment in September 2021, where there was a special Andrea Milani Challenge session devoted to the presentation and discussion of the solutions.

STAGE II: Teams composed only by students participated in stage II of the competition, leading also to participate in the special Andrea Milani Challenge session of the  Stardust-R Global Virtual Workshop on Space Traffic Management and Resilient Space Environment. The top 3 student teams for each competition were invited to present their approach to a panel of experts at the workshop. One winner for each category was announced at the conference closing ceremonies, based on their technical approach and innovation in solving the challenge.