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Autonomous Aerobraking: A Design, Development, and Feasibility StudyAerobraking has been used four times to decrease the apoapsis of a spacecraft in a captured orbit around a planetary body with a significant atmosphere utilizing atmospheric drag to decelerate the spacecraft. While aerobraking requires minimum fuel, the long time required for aerobraking requires both a large operations staff, and large Deep Space Network resources. A study to automate aerobraking has been sponsored by the NASA Engineering and Safety Center to determine initial feasibility of equipping a spacecraft with the onboard capability for autonomous aerobraking, thus saving millions of dollars incurred by a large aerobraking operations workforce and continuous DSN coverage. This paper describes the need for autonomous aerobraking, the development of the Autonomous Aerobraking Development Software that includes an ephemeris estimator, an atmospheric density estimator, and maneuver calculation, and the plan forward for continuation of this study.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Prince, Jill L. H. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Powell, Richard W. (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Murri, Dan (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
July 31, 2011
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
AAS 11-473
Meeting Information
2011 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference(Girdwood, AK)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 869021.
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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