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Mars Science Helicopter Conceptual DesignRobotic planetary aerial vehicles increase the range of terrain that can be examined, compared to traditional landers and rovers, and have more near-surface capability than orbiters. Aerial mobility is a promising possibility for planetary exploration as it reduces the challenges that difficult obstacles pose to ground vehicles. The first use of a rotorcraft for a planetary mission will be in 2021, when the Mars Helicopter technology demonstrator will be deployed from the Mars 2020 rover. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and NASA Ames Research Center are exploring possibilities for a Mars Science Helicopter, a second-generation Mars rotorcraft with the capability of conducting science investigations independently of a lander or rover (although this type of vehicle could also be used assist rovers or landers in future missions). This report describes the conceptual design of Mars Science Helicopters. The design process began with coaxial-helicopter and hexacopter configurations, with a payload in the range of two to three kg and an overall vehicle mass of approximately twenty kg. Initial estimates of weight and performance were based on the capabilities of the Mars Helicopter. Rotorcraft designs for Mars are constrained by the dimensions of the aeroshell and lander for the trip to the planet, requiring attention to the aircraft packaging in order to maximize the rotor dimensions and hence overall performance potential. Aerodynamic performance optimization was conducted, particularly through airfoils designed specifically for the low Reynolds number and high Mach number inherent to operation on Mars. Rotor structural designs were developed that met blade frequency and weight targets, subject to material stress limits. The final designs show a substantial capability for science operations on Mars: a 31 kg hexacopter that fits within a 2.5 m diameter aeroshell could carry a 5 kg payload for 10 min of hover time or over a range of 5 km.
Document ID
20200002139
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Authors
Wayne Johnson (Ames Research Center Mountain View, California, United States)
Shannah Withrow-Maser (Ames Research Center Mountain View, California, United States)
Larry Young (Ames Research Center Mountain View, California, United States)
Carlos Malpica (Ames Research Center Mountain View, California, United States)
Witold J. F. Koning (Science and Technology Corporation (United States) Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Winnie Kuang (Science and Technology Corporation (United States) Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Mireille Fehler (Science and Technology Corporation (United States) Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Allysa Tuano (Science and Technology Corporation (United States) Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Athena Chan (Science and Technology Corporation (United States) Hampton, Virginia, United States)
Anubhav Datta (University of Maryland, College Park College Park, Maryland, United States)
Cheng Chi (University of Maryland, College Park College Park, Maryland, United States)
Ravi Lumba (University of Maryland, College Park College Park, Maryland, United States)
Daniel Escobar (University of Maryland, College Park College Park, Maryland, United States)
J. Balaram (Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Theodore Tzanetos (Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Havard Fjaer Grip (Jet Propulsion Lab La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States)
Date Acquired
April 2, 2020
Publication Date
March 1, 2020
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Report/Patent Number
ARC-E-DAA-TN78199
NASA/TM-2020-220485
Funding Number(s)
CONTRACT_GRANT: NNA16BD60C
CONTRACT_GRANT: 80NM0018D0004P000
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Public Use Permitted.
Technical Review
NASA Peer Committee

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