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Flight Mechanics Feasibility Assessment for Co-Delivery of Direct-Entry Probe and Aerocapture Orbiter

Albert, Samuel W. and Schaub, Hanspeter and Braun, Robert D. (2022) Flight Mechanics Feasibility Assessment for Co-Delivery of Direct-Entry Probe and Aerocapture Orbiter. Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, 59 (1). pp. 19-32. ISSN 0022-4650. doi:10.2514/1.a34953.

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The co-delivery of a direct-entry probe and an aerocapture orbiter from a single atmospheric entry state is a novel way to include ride-along probes or orbiters on interplanetary missions. This is made possible through combining two technologies: low-cost small satellites and aerocapture. This study investigates the feasibility of this co-delivery method from a flight-mechanics perspective. The availability of direct-entry and aerocapture trajectories from a single entry flight-path angle is assessed for a large range of feasible ballistic coefficients at Earth, Mars, Venus, Titan, and Neptune. Apoapsis altitude, peak heat flux, total heat load, and peak g-load are also quantified across this trade space. A representative scenario implementing closed-loop guidance is presented for a proof of concept, and the trajectory dispersions due to relevant uncertainties are quantified in a Monte Carlo analysis. Passive ballistic impactor or penetrator probes as a secondary mission with a primary lift-modulated aerocapture orbiter is identified as the most promising configuration.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription
Albert, Samuel W.0000-0002-7013-7649
Schaub, Hanspeter0000-0003-0002-6035
Additional Information:© 2021 by Samuel W. Albert. Published by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc., with permission. Presented as Paper 2020-718 at the 2020 AAS/AIAA Astrodynamics Specialist Conference, Lake Tahoe (Virtual Conference), August 9–12, 2020; received 8 September 2020; revision received 9 June 2021; accepted for publication 28 June 2021; published online 9 September 2021. This work was supported by a NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship. The first author thanks Jay McMahon and Soumyo Dutta for help with the Fully Numerical Predictor–Corrector Aerocapture Guidance and the Fully Numerical Predictor–Corrector Entry Guidance materials.
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NASA Space Technology Research Fellowship80NSSC19K1139
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AIAA Paper2020-0718
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210927-225706017
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Official Citation:Flight Mechanics Feasibility Assessment for Co-Delivery of Direct-Entry Probe and Aerocapture Orbiter. Samuel W. Albert, Hanspeter Schaub, and Robert D. Braun Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets 2022 59:1, 19-32 ; DOI: 10.2514/1.a34953
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:111069
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:28 Sep 2021 16:33
Last Modified:01 Feb 2022 19:03

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