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Vehicle Design for Mars Landing and Return to Mars OrbitThis paper briefly describes three modes for accomplishing the Mars landing mission and compares them on a gross basis to indicate their probable order of merit and to identify design requirements placed on the Mars-excursion module (MEM) by the choice of mode. The paper shows that a flyby-rendezvous mode requiring low weight in earth orbit requires the MEM to enter the Mars atmosphere at velocities ranging from 20,000 to 30,000 ft/sec. The MEM for the flyby-rendezvous mode is not covered in this paper but merits further study. The MEM for the other modes of mission accomplishment begins its active operational sequence in Mars orbit and need not be greatly influenced by the method of delivery to Mars orbit. Parametric studies of the entry problem for two vehicles typifying a ballistic-type and a lifting-body-type were conducted to identify the problems associated with design of a MEM to accommodate the extremes of Mars atmospheric density presently predicted. This brief study indicates that: (a) the presently predicted density extremes of the Mars atmosphere present no serious design problems for a MEM which can operate across the entire band of predicted densities; (b) details of operational requirements and mission objectives will control the choice of configuration rather than entry requirements; and (c) the ballistic-type MEM is lighter and simpler but has less operational flexibility than a high L/D MEM.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hammock, D. M.
(NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Houston, TX, United States)
Jackson, B. G.
(NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 2, 2013
Publication Date
June 6, 1963
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: Symposium on the Exploration of Mars
Location: Denver, CO
Country: United States
Start Date: June 6, 1963
End Date: June 7, 1963
Sponsors: American Astronautical Society
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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