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Title:Using Flaps to Deliver the Landers of the Future to the surface of Mars
Author(s):Engel, Daniel
Abstract:When people think about sending a spacecraft, like a rover or lander, to Mars, they often imagine the challenges involved in designing the powerful rockets that will take the vehicle to the Red Planet. A lesser known challenge is that of actually landing the vehicle on the surface. The lander is typically encapsulated in a so-called “entry vehicle,” which protects the lander as it flies through the Martian atmosphere. During this process, the entry vehicle actually steers itself to control its landing position through the aid of small rocket thrusters. I am investigating an alternative steering method by using articulating aerodynamic flaps. The rendering shown, of a flapped-vehicle as it flies through the Martian atmosphere, is a concept of my research. By varying the flap deflections, the forces on the vehicle change, altering its trajectory and allowing for control over its landing position. I am looking to see if using flap-based steering systems have the potential for increased flight performance, compared to the current state-of-the-art. I have been working on this project for about two years, and it has been truly fascinating. Every day of work makes me more excited for the day when we someday send humans to Mars.
Issue Date:2021
Description:I would like to thank Nate Skolnik and Dr. Zachary Putnam for their help and work on this project.
Rights Information:Copyright 2021 Daniel Engel
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-04-12

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