Preliminary Design Study of Asymmetric Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators for Mars Entry

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Harper, Brooke P.
Braun, Robert D.
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The Mars missions envisioned in the future require payload mass in excess of the current capable limit for entry vehicle technology. Deployable Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators offer one solution to successfully improve drag performance and reduce ballistic coefficient to mitigate entry, descent, and landing concerns as payload mass increases. The majority of the research that has been conducted on these structures thus far only focuses on axisymmetric geometries. In this investigation, aerodynamic and aerothermodynamic performance is examined for three proposed asymmetric families that can generate non-zero lift-to-drag ratios at 0° angle of attack and are compared to a symmetric counterpart. Ideal results include favorable lift-to-drag ratios with reduced ballistic coefficients. The blunt, asymmetric Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator designs considered are assembled from stacked tori configurations with a base diameter of 20 m and the capability to interface with a 10 m diameter rigid center body. The configurations reviewed are capable of producing hypersonic lift-to-drag ratios between ~0.1 and ~0.6 for angles of attack ranging from -30° to 20°. A 40 Mt entry mass, approximate mass of large robotic or human scale mission is assumed. Advantageous ballistic coefficient data is retrieved for some asymmetric geometries. All HIAD configurations are determined to be statically stable as well. An initial assessment of the aerothermodynamic response predicts significant heating with radiative heating being much greater than convective heating. From the analyses completed thus far, encouraging results project asymmetric Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators as conceivable candidates for future large scale Mars missions
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