Users for our website application are program managers for a mission with the science objective of finding water on an asteroid. As program managers, users select: a) a target asteroid, b) a spacecraft design (based on size) and c) a launch vehicle to get into space. The selections are evaluated for cost, time and meeting science objectives. It’s up to users to decide which mission structure is best to achieve the goal of finding water on an asteroid.

This project is solving the 3-2-1 LIFTOFF: Launch that Rocket! challenge.


The purpose of this project is to introduce users to mission trade studies that program managers complete at NASA and commercial space companies. Since the challenge was launch based, we have users select basic program variables, like satellite size and mission targets, but the focus is on the launch vehicle selection, Users are shown relevant parameters, like delta-v to get to the target and the launch vehicle's payload capacity to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). The user's choices are evaluated according to typical program objectives: cost, time, and value of science. This app exposes users to the challenges of planning spacecraft missions, particularly as it relates to the launch vehicle. It shows users that optimization of cost, time and science objectives is nearly impossible - one has to take precedence. High-level planning of spacecraft missions is a challenge even for experienced aerospace engineers. With our app, users can have a taste of this challenge and develop their own ideas about how to best achieve science objectives.

Project Information

License: MIT license (MIT)

Source Code/Project URL:


Video (short demo) -
Asteroid Target Descriptions -
Launch Vehicle Descriptions -
Spacecraft and Target Information -
Screenshots from App Demo -
Video (full demo) -


  • K.
  • Thomas Bashford
  • Kaitlyn Kelley
  • Lars Osborne