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  • 1
    Publication Date: 2018-06-11
    Description: Significant technology advances have enabled planetary aircraft to be considered as viable science platforms. Such systems fill a unique planetary science measurement gap, that of regional-scale, near-surface observation, while providing a fresh perspective for potential discovery. Recent efforts have produced mature mission and flight system concepts, ready for flight project implementation. This paper summarizes the development of a Mars airplane mission architecture that balances science, implementation risk and cost. Airplane mission performance, flight system design and technology maturation are described. The design, analysis and testing completed demonstrates the readiness of this science platform for use in a Mars flight project.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
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  • 2
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Mars Entry Descent and Landing Instrumentation 2 (MEDLI2) sensor suite will measure aerodynamic, aerothermodynamic, and TPS performance during the atmospheric entry, descent, and landing phases of the Mars 2020 mission. The key objectives are to reduce design margin and prediction uncertainties for the aerothermal environments and aerodynamic database. For MEDLI2, the sensors are installed on both the heatshield and backshell, and include 7 pressure transducers, 17 thermal plugs, and 3 heat flux sensors (including a radiometer). These sensors will expand the set of measurements collected by the highly successful MEDLI suite, collecting supersonic pressure measurements on the forebody, a pressure measurement on the aftbody, direct heat flux measurements on the aftbody, a radiative heating measurement on the aftbody, and multiple near-surface thermal measurements on the thermal protection system (TPS) materials on both the forebody and aftbody. To meet the science objectives, supersonic pressure transducers and heat flux sensors are currently being developed and their qualification and calibration plans are presented. Finally, the reconstruction targets for data accuracy are presented, along with the planned methodologies for achieving the targets.
    Keywords: Instrumentation and Photography
    Type: ARC-E-DAA-TN32144 , AIAA AVIATION 2016; 13-17 Jun. 2016; Washington, DC; United States
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  • 3
    Publication Date: 2019-07-12
    Description: A trade study was performed at NASA Langley Research Center under the Planetary Airplane Risk Reduction (PARR) project (2004-2005) to examine the option of using multiple, smaller thrusters in place of a single large thruster on the Mars airplane concept with the goal to reduce overall cost, schedule, and technical risk. The 5-lbf (22N) thruster is a common reaction control thruster on many satellites. Thousands of these types of thrusters have been built and flown on numerous programs, including MILSTAR and Intelsat VI. This study has examined the use of three 22N thrusters for the Mars airplane propulsion system and compared the results to those of the baseline single thruster system.
    Keywords: Aircraft Design, Testing and Performance
    Type: NASA/TM-2009-215699 , L-19371 , LF99-5349
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  • 4
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is one of the most scientifically interesting locations in the Solar System. With a very cold atmosphere that is five times as dense as Earth s, and one and a half times the surface pressure, it also provides one of the most aeronautically fascinating environments known to humankind. While this may seem the ideal place to attempt atmospheric flight, many challenges await any vehicle attempting to navigate through it. In addition to these physical challenges, any scientific exploration mission to Titan will most likely have several operational constraints. One difficult constraint is the desire for a global survey of the planet and thus, a long duration flight within the atmosphere. Since many of the scientific measurements that would be unique to a vehicle flying through the atmosphere (as opposed to an orbiting spacecraft) desire near-surface positioning of their associated instruments, the vehicle must also be able to fly within the first scale height of the atmosphere. Another difficult constraint is that interaction with the surface, whether by landing or dropped probe, is also highly desirable from a scientific perspective. Two common atmospheric flight platforms that might be used for this mission are the airplane and airship. Under the assumption of a mission architecture that would involve an orbiting relay spacecraft delivered via aerocapture and an atmospheric flight vehicle delivered via direct entry, designs were developed for both platforms that are unique to Titan. Consequently, after a viable design was achieved for each platform, their advantages and disadvantages were compared. This comparison included such factors as deployment risk, surface interaction capability, mass, and design heritage. When considering all factors, the preferred candidate platform for a global survey of Titan is an airship.
    Keywords: Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
    Type: AIAA Paper 2005-6235 , AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference and Exhibit; 15-18 Aug. 2005; San Francisco, CA; United States
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  • 5
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Saturn s moon Titan promises insight into many key scientific questions, many of which can be investigated only by in situ exploration of the surface and atmosphere of the moon. This research presents a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) vehicle designed to conduct a scientific investigation of Titan s atmosphere, clouds, haze, surface, and any possible oceans. In this investigation, multiple options for vertical takeoff and horizontal mobility were considered. A helicopter was baselined because of its many advantages over other types of vehicles, namely access to hazardous terrain and the ability to perform low speed aerial surveys. Using a nuclear power source and the atmosphere of Titan, a turbo expander cycle produces the 1.9 kW required by the vehicle for flight and operations, allowing it to sustain a long range, long duration mission that could traverse the majority of Titan. Such a power source could increase the lifespan and quality of science for planetary aerial flight to an extent that the limiting factor for the mission life is not available power but the life of the mechanical parts. Therefore, the mission could potentially last for years. This design is the first to investigate the implications of this potentially revolutionary technology on a Titan aerial vehicle.
    Keywords: Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
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  • 6
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The Mars Science Laboratory Entry, Descent, and Landing Instrumentation (MEDLI) Project s objectives are to measure aerothermal environments, sub-surface heatshield material response, vehicle orientation, and atmospheric density for the atmospheric entry and descent phases of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) entry vehicle. The flight science objectives of MEDLI directly address the largest uncertainties in the ability to design and validate a robust Mars entry system, including aerothermal, aerodynamic and atmosphere models, and thermal protection system (TPS) design. The instrumentation suite will be installed in the heatshield of the MSL entry vehicle. The acquired data will support future Mars entry and aerocapture missions by providing measured atmospheric data to validate Mars atmosphere models and clarify the design margins for future Mars missions. MEDLI thermocouple and recession sensor data will significantly improve the understanding of aeroheating and TPS performance uncertainties for future missions. MEDLI pressure data will permit more accurate trajectory reconstruction, as well as separation of aerodynamic and atmospheric uncertainties in the hypersonic and supersonic regimes. This paper provides an overview of the project including the instrumentation design, system architecture, and expected measurement response.
    Keywords: Spacecraft Instrumentation and Astrionics
    Type: 2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference; 1-8 Mar. 2008; Big Sky, MT; United States
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  • 7
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Obtaining critical measurements for eventual human Mars missions while expanding upon recent Mars scientific discoveries and deriving new scientific knowledge from a unique near surface vantage point is the focus of the Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Surveyor (ARES) exploration mission. The key element of ARES is an instrumented,rocket-powered, well-tested robotic airplane platform, that will fly between one to two kilometers above the surface while traversing hundreds of kilometers to collect and transmit previously unobtainable high spatial measurements relevant to the NASA Mars Exploration Program and the exploration of Mars by humans.
    Keywords: Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
    Type: Paper No. 4086 , NF1676L-14788 , Workshop on Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration; 12-14 Jun. 2012; Houston, TX; United States
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  • 8
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: The suite of Inflatable Re-Entry Vehicle Experiments (IRVE) is designed to further our knowledge and understanding of Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs). Before infusion into a future mission, three challenges need to be addressed: surviving the heat pulse during re-entry, demonstrating system performance at relevant scales, and demonstrating controllability in the atmosphere. IRVE-4 will contribute to a better understanding of controllability by characterizing how a HIAD responds to a set of controlled inputs. The ability to control a HIAD is vital for missions that are g-limited, require precision targeting and guidance for aerocapture or entry, descent, and landing. The IRVE-4 flight test will focus on taking a first look into controlling a HIAD. This paper will give an overview of the IRVE-4 mission including the control response portion of the flight test sequence, and will provide a review of the mission s development.
    Keywords: Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
    Type: NF1676L-11478 , 21st AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference and Seminar; 23-26 May 2011; Dublin; Ireland
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  • 9
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Often in spaceflight proposal development, mission designers must eva luate numerous trajectories as different design factors are investiga ted. Although there are numerous commercial software packages availab le to help develop and analyze trajectories, most take a significant amount of time to develop the trajectory itself, which isn't effectiv e when working on proposals. Thus a new code, PatCon, which is both q uick and easy to use, was developed to aid mission designers to condu ct trade studies on launch and arrival times for any given target pla net. The code is able to run quick analyses, due to the incorporation of the patched conic approximation, to determine the trajectory. PatCon provides a simple but accurate approximation of the four body moti on problem that would be needed to solve any planetary trajectory. P atCon has been compared to a patched conic test case for verification, with limited validation or comparison with other COTS software. This paper describes the patched conic technique and its implementation i n PatCon. A description of the results and comparison of PatCon to ot her more evolved codes such as AGI#s Satellite Tool Kit and JAQAR As trodynamics# Swingby Calculator is provided. The results will include percent differences in values such as C3 numbers, and Vinfinity at a rrival, and other more subjective results such as the time it takes to build the simulation, and actual calculation time.
    Keywords: Computer Programming and Software
    Type: AAS 07-160 , LAR-17446-1 , 17th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting; 28 Jan. - 1 Feb. 2007; Sedona, AZ; United States
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  • 10
    Publication Date: 2019-07-13
    Description: Aerial vehicles fill a unique planetary science measurement gap, that of regional-scale, near-surface observation, while providing a fresh perspective for potential discovery. Aerial vehicles used in planetary exploration bridge the scale and resolution measurement gaps between orbiters (global perspective with limited spatial resolution) and landers (local perspective with high spatial resolution) thus complementing and extending orbital and landed measurements. Planetary aerial vehicles can also survey scientifically interesting terrain that is inaccessible or hazardous to landed missions. The use of aerial assets for performing observations on Mars, Titan, or Venus will enable direct measurements and direct follow-ons to recent discoveries. Aerial vehicles can be used for remote sensing of the interior, surface and atmosphere of Mars, Venus and Titan. Types of aerial vehicles considered are airplane "heavier than air" and airships and balloons "lighter than air". Interdependencies between the science measurements, science goals and objectives, and platform implementation illustrate how the proper balance of science, engineering, and cost, can be achieved to allow for a successful mission. Classification of measurement types along with how those measurements resolve science questions and how these instruments are accommodated within the mission context are discussed.
    Keywords: Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
    Type: SPIE-5660-23 , SPIE''s 4th International Asia-Pacific Symposium on Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere, Ocean, Environment, and Space; 8-11 Nov. 2004; Honolulu, HI; United States
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