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Mars Sample Return: architecture and mission design

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8 Author(s)
Sherwood, B. ; The Boeing Co., Huntington Beach, CA, USA ; Smith, D.B. ; Greeley, R. ; Whittaker, W.
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Mars Sample Return (MSR) architecture and mission engineering, led by Boeing for JPL, is presented. The study sought credible data to support planning a 2011 mission to return 500 g of scientifically selected samples. Phase 1 compared diverse architecture options to accomplish the mission. Seventeen theme-based architectures were conceived, quantified, measured, and scored. Two primary and three secondary architectures were recommended. Phase 2 developed engineering detail for a simple architecture specified by JPL: dual mission to two landing sites; short-range, radioisotope-powered sampling rovers; Mars orbit rendezvous; and electric return propulsion with Shuttle rendezvous. The design comprises nine system elements. Solutions for sample handling and breaking the back contamination chain are detailed. Total mission duration is five years. Technology tailoring, rather than technology creation, is required. Mission development cost, including margins and wraps, is $2.8×109. The study concluded that many schemes can feasibly accomplish Mars sample return, depending on program objectives adopted.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2002. IEEE  (Volume:2 )

Date of Conference:

2002