Assessment of the Reconstructed Aerodynamics of the Mars Science Laboratory Entry Vehicle
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- On August 5, 2012, the Mars Science Laboratory entry vehicle successfully entered Mars atmosphere, flying a guided entry until parachute deploy. The Curiosity rover landed safely in Gale crater upon completion of the Entry Descent and Landing sequence. This paper compares the aerodynamics of the entry capsule extracted from onboard flight data, including Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) accelerometer and rate gyro information, and heatshield surface pressure measurements. From the onboard data, static force and moment data has been extracted. This data is compared to preflight predictions. The information collected by MSL represents the most complete set of information collected during Mars entry to date. It allows the separation of aerodynamic performance from atmospheric conditions. The comparisons show the MSL aerodynamic characteristics have been identified and resolved to an accuracy better than the aerodynamic database uncertainties used in preflight simulations. A number of small anomalies have been identified and are discussed. This data will help revise aerodynamic databases for future missions and will guide computational fluid dynamics (CFD) development to improved prediction codes.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20130010088.
23rd AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting; 10-14 Feb. 2013; Kauai, HI; United States.
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