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Mars Sample Return: the design of low risk architectures

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2 Author(s)
Sutter, B. ; Lockheed Martin Space Syst., Denver, CO, USA ; McGee, M.

The 2011 Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission objective is to acquire and deliver greater than 500 grams of material from the surface of Mars to the NASA planetary materials curatorial facility. The mission is science driven and technology enabled within the overall constraints of the Mars Exploration Program. The MSR architecture design process strives to balance three aspects of the mission: performance, cost and risk. In addition, dependency on new, mission enabling technologies should be minimized while maximizing the ability to incorporate mission-enhancing technologies developed outside the program. Numerous flight elements necessitate a thorough understanding of element interdependencies and identification of how changes to each element ripple through the entire architecture. Several architectures for achieving the MSR mission objective have been identified and evaluated during the past year at Lockheed Martin. Each of the architectures is feasible, with varying levels of mission risk, technology requirements, and operational flexibilities. After conducting a preliminary evaluation of these architectures, two mission designs were then studied in more detail, Libration Point Rendezvous (LPR) and Mars Orbit Rendezvous (MOR).

Published in:

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

Date of Conference:

2002