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- Mars missions often employ aerobraking upon arrival at Mars as a low-mass method to gradually reduce the orbit period from a high-altitude, highly elliptical insertion orbit to the final science orbit. Two recent missions that made use of aerobraking were Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) and Mars Odyssey. Both spacecraft had solar arrays as the main aerobraking surface area. Aerobraking produces a high heat load on the solar arrays, which have a large surface area exposed to the airflow and relatively low mass. To accurately model the complex behavior during aerobraking, the thermal analysis must be tightly coupled to the flight mechanics, aerodynamics, and atmospheric modeling efforts being performed during operations. To properly represent the temperatures prior to and during the drag pass, the model must include the orbital solar and planetary heat fluxes. The correlation of the thermal model to flight data allows a validation of the modeling process, as well as information on what processes dominate the thermal behavior. This paper describes the thermal modeling method that was developed for this purpose, as well as correlation for two flight missions, and a discussion of improvements to the methodology.
- Other Subject(s):
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040085708.
- No Copyright.
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