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Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV): Designing for high heritage and low risk

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3 Author(s)
Douglas Ross ; Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company, MS S8110/P.O. Box 179, Denver, CO 80201 ; James Russell ; Brian Sutter

The Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign involves three complementary spacecraft missions, one of which will contain a Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) to deliver the Martian sample to orbit for subsequent retrieval and return to Earth. MAV must deliver a 5-kg sample container containing up to 500 g of surface material to a 520 ± 60-km orbit while satisfying all surface and mission requirements. Lockheed Martin participated in a NASA-funded study to evaluate MAV concept options with special attention on identifying opportunities to obtain MAV system mass savings. Several MAV architectures and subsystem elements were evaluated during the past year at Lockheed Martin with the goal of identifying potential enabling component technology options for mass savings and achieving an overall MAV system mass reduction. The study found that a high-heritage solution exists, based on flight-proven technology with minimal development, which can deliver a MAV below 300 kg. Given the importance of the MSR mission and the current fiscal reality, it is crucial to minimize overall landed mass and system complexity while maintaining low risk; a two-stage solid-solid configuration provides the lowest mass and risk, using high-heritage elements.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2012