NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Atmospheric Environments for Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL)Scientific measurements of atmospheric properties have been made by a wide variety of planetary flyby missions, orbiters, and landers. Although landers can make in-situ observations of near-surface atmospheric conditions (and can collect atmospheric data during their entry phase), the vast majority of data on planetary atmospheres has been collected by remote sensing techniques from flyby and orbiter spacecraft (and to some extent by Earth-based remote sensing). Many of these remote sensing observations (made over a variety of spectral ranges), consist of vertical profiles of atmospheric temperature as a function of atmospheric pressure level. While these measurements are of great interest to atmospheric scientists and modelers of planetary atmospheres, the primary interest for engineers designing entry descent and landing (EDL) systems is information about atmospheric density as a function of geometric altitude. Fortunately, as described in in this paper, it is possible to use a combination of the gas-law relation and the hydrostatic balance relation to convert temperature-versus-pressure, scientific observations into density-versus-altitude data for use in engineering applications. The following section provides a brief introduction to atmospheric thermodynamics, as well as constituents, and winds for EDL. It also gives methodology for using atmospheric information to do "back-of-the-envelope" calculations of various EDL aeroheating parameters, including peak deceleration rate ("g-load"), peak convective heat rate. and total heat load on EDL spacecraft thermal protection systems. Brief information is also provided about atmospheric variations and perturbations for EDL guidance and control issues, and atmospheric issues for EDL parachute systems. Subsequent sections give details of the atmospheric environments for five destinations for possible EDL missions: Venus. Earth. Mars, Saturn, and Titan. Specific atmospheric information is provided for these destinations, and example results are presented for the "back-of-the-envelope" calculations mentioned above.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Justus, Carl G.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Braun, Robert D.
(Georgia Inst. of Tech. United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
June 23, 2007
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Meeting: 5th International Planetary Probes Workshop and Short Course
Location: Bordeaux
Country: France
Start Date: June 23, 2007
End Date: June 29, 2007
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
No Preview Available