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Mars Science Laboratory entry, descent and landing system verification and validation program

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5 Author(s)
Mitcheltree, R. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA ; Steltzner, A. ; Chen, A. ; SanMartin, M.
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The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission will land the next generation of robotic entry, descent, and landing (EDL) systems on Mars in 2010. Relative to previous missions, the MSL EDL architecture will deliver a significantly larger mass to a significantly higher altitude while maintaining a significantly tighter delivery ellipse. MSL is pushing the limits of EDL technologies qualified previously by the Mars Viking, Mars Pathfinder, and Mars Exploration Rover missions as well as introducing new elements into the architecture. Given the difficulties of conducting a meaningful end-to-end flight test on Earth, this combination introduces numerous challenges for the EDL verification and validation program. This paper discusses how system validation challenges influenced the design of the EDL architecture and highlights how some of the remaining challenges will be addressed to assure a successful landing of this unprecedented rover on Mars

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Aerospace Conference, 2006 IEEE

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