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Guidance and Control Design for Powered Descent and Landing on Mars

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3 Author(s)
Gurkirpal Singh ; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Dr., Pasadena, CA 91109. (818) 354 3291, ; Alejandro M. SanMartin ; Edward C. Wong

Future Mars landing missions must be capable of autonomously delivering highly capable and mobile rovers safely and gently in an upright orientation. The airbag landing system used to deliver earlier rovers (Mars Pathfinder and the two Mars Exploration vehicles) is incapable of landing the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)-class rover. The design of a novel sky-crane landing concept to land the proposed Mars Science Laboratory rover is presented here. The descent is guided and actively controlled in six degrees of freedom. Terminal guidance is robust to terrain variations-induced altimeter noise. A terminal descent sensor provides surface relative velocity and altitude measurements, the inertial measurement unit measurements help propagate the vehicle attitude and positions. Guidance and control system commands eight throttle-able Mars lander engines to actively control the vehicle attitude and translations. Computer simulations demonstrate the viability of this concept in the presence of various environmental, configuration, and hardware imperfections.

Published in:

2007 IEEE Aerospace Conference

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2007