Campaign-level dynamic network modelling for spaceflight logistics for the flexible path concept

Koki Ho, Olivier L. De Weck, Jeffrey A. Hoffman, Robert Shishko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper develops a network optimization formulation for dynamic campaign-level space mission planning. Although many past space missions have been designed mainly from a mission-level perspective, a campaign-level perspective will be important for future space exploration. In order to find the optimal campaign-level space transportation architecture, a mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) formulation with a generalized multi-commodity flow and a time-expanded network is developed. Particularly, a new heuristics-based method, a partially static time-expanded network, is developed to provide a solution quickly. The developed method is applied to a case study containing human exploration of a near-Earth object (NEO) and Mars, related to the concept of the Flexible Path. The numerical results show that using the specific combinations of propulsion technologies, in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and other space infrastructure elements can reduce the initial mass in low-Earth orbit (IMLEO) significantly. In addition, the case study results also show that we can achieve large IMLEO reduction by designing NEO and Mars missions together as a campaign compared with designing them separately owing to their common space infrastructure pre-deployment. This research will be an important step toward efficient and flexible campaign-level space mission planning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalActa Astronautica
StatePublished - Jun 2016


  • Mars exploration
  • NEO exploration
  • Network optimization
  • Space logistics
  • Space systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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