Mars Rover Sample Return aerocapture configuration design and packaging constraintsThis paper discusses the aerodynamics requirements, volume and mass constraints that lead to a biconic aeroshell vehicle design that protects the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission elements from launch to Mars landing. The aerodynamic requirements for Mars aerocapture and entry and packaging constraints for the MRSR elements result in a symmetric biconic aeroshell that develops a L/D of 1.0 at 27.0 deg angle of attack. A significant problem in the study is obtaining a cg that provides adequate aerodynamic stability and performance within the mission imposed constraints. Packaging methods that relieve the cg problems include forward placement of aeroshell propellant tanks and incorporating aeroshell structure as lander structure. The MRSR missions developed during the pre-phase A study are discussed with dimensional and mass data included. Further study is needed for some missions to minimize MRSR element volume so that launch mass constraints can be met.
Lawson, Shelby J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)