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Improving the landing precision of an MSL-class vehicle

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5 Author(s)
Aron A. Wolf ; Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, CA 91109 ; Behcet Acikmese ; Jordi Casoliva ; Scott Ploen
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Prior to Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), Mars landers flew ballistic entry trajectories. Improvements in landing accuracy (from ~150 km from the target for Mars Pathfinder to ~30-40 km for Mars Exploration Rover and Phoenix) were solely due to improved approach navigation. MSL will fly the first guided-entry trajectory to Mars, further improving accuracy to ~10-12 km from the target by modifying the trajectory in the atmosphere using a lift created by slightly offsetting the vehicle center-of-mass. EDL systems of future Mars lander missions are likely to substantially resemble MSL to maximize heritage and minimize cost. Further improvements in landing accuracy are desired for these missions, motivating an investigation into improvements in landing accuracy with minimal impact to the MSL EDL system architecture.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2012