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Mars Science Laboratory entry guidance improvements study for the Mars 2018 mission

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6 Author(s)
Garcia-Llama, E. ; NASA, GBTech, Inc., Houston, TX, USA ; Ivanov, M.C. ; Winski, R.G. ; Grover, M.R.
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In 2011, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) was launched in a mission to deliver the largest and most capable rover to date to the surface of Mars. A follow on MSL-derived mission, referred to as Mars 2018, is being proposed to launch in 2018. Mars 2018 is investigating performance enhancements of the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) system over that of its predecessor MSL mission of 2011. This paper will discuss the main elements of the proposed Mars 2018 EDL preliminary design that are being considered to increase performance on the entry phase of the mission. In particular, these elements are discussed with the goals of increasing the parachute deploy altitude to allow for more time margin during the subsequent descent and landing phases, increasing the entry mass, and reducing the delivery ellipse size at parachute deploy, through modifications in the entry reference trajectory design, vehicle's lift to drag ratio, parachute deploy trigger logic design, and the effect of additional navigation hardware.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2012