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Toward improved landing precision on Mars

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6 Author(s)
Wolf, A.A. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Acikmese, B. ; Yang Cheng ; Casoliva, J.
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Mars landers to date have flown ballistic entry trajectories with no trajectory control after the final maneuver before entry. 12Improvements in landing accuracies (from ~150 km from the target for Mars Pathfinder to ~30-40 km for MER and Phoenix) have been driven by approach navigation improvements. MSL will fly the first guided-entry trajectory to Mars, further improving accuracy to ~10-12 km from the target. For future missions, landing within ~100m is desired to assure landing safety close to a target of high scientific interest in irregular terrain, or to land near a previously landed asset. Improvements in approach navigation alone are not sufficient to achieve this requirement. If approach navigation error and IMU error are eliminated, the dominant error source is wind drift on the parachute, with map-tie error also significant. Correcting these errors requires terrain-relative navigation (TRN), which can be accomplished with passive imaging supplemented by radar for terrain sensing (with onboard navigation capable of processing measurements from IMU, imaging, and radar). Additionally, near-optimal-ΔV powered descent guidance is needed to minimize the amount of propellant required to reach the target. The capability to land within 100m can be applied in different landing modes depending on how much fuel is carried.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2011 IEEE

Date of Conference:

5-12 March 2011