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Structural considerations in the design of a Mars mission aerobrakeA design for a Mars mission aerobrake with rib-stringer construction coupled with a generic shell using composite materials, which is shown to produce a feasible alternative to propulsive braking, is presented. For the case of a spherical shell subjected to a uniform pressure loading the membrane stress state is isotropic and independent of material properties. The stresses due to bending are significant and dominate only near the attachment points. The addition of meridional stiffeners increased the buckling load and absorbed a large portion of the stresses near the attachment points. The final design employed a high modulus graphite/epoxy composite material. The final weight of the structure when subjected to a 2.0 psi stagnation pressure loading was about 42,000 pounds. This constituted 9 percent of the total spacecraft weight, well below the 15 percent upper limit. It is concluded that aerobraking is a feasible alternative to a propulsive braking system. A rib-stringer shell composition coupled with composite materials is a viable configuration for an aerobrake structure.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hairr, John
(NASA Headquarters Washington, DC United States)
Klang, Eric
(North Carolina State Univ. Raleigh, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: In: Engineering, construction, and operations in space - III: Space '92; Proceedings of the 3rd International Conference, Denver, CO, May 31-June 4, 1992. Vol. 1 (A93-41976 17-12)
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
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