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A Comparative Study of Aerocapture Missions with a Mars DestinationConventional interplanetary spacecraft use propulsive systems to decelerate into orbit. Aerocapture is an alternative approach for orbit capture, in which the spacecraft makes a single pass through a target destination's atmosphere. Although this technique has never been performed, studies show there are substantial benefits of using aerocapture for reduction of propellant mass, spacecraft size, and mission cost. The In-Space Propulsion (ISP) Program, part of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, has invested in aerocapture technology development since 2002. Aerocapture investments within ISP are largely driven by mission systems analysis studies, The purpose of this NASA-funded report is to identify and document the fundamental parameters of aerocapture within previous human and robotic Mars mission studies which will assist the community in identifying technology research gaps in human and robotic missions, and provide insight for future technology investments. Upon examination of the final data set, some key attributes within the aerocapture disciplines are identified.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Vaughan, Diane (Gray Research, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Miller, Heather C. (Gray Research, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
Griffin, Brand (Gray Research, Inc. Huntsville, AL, United States)
James, Bonnie F. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Munk, Michelle M. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
April 26, 2005
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Meeting Information
41st AIAA Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit(Tuscon, AZ)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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