Petal Brake Hypersonic Entry System

Period of Performance: 01/01/2011 - 12/31/2011

$99.9K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Andrews Space, Inc.
3415 South 116th Street, Suite 123
Tukwila, WA 98168
Principal Investigator
Firm POC

Abstract

Future NASA exploration plans will realize significant performance advantages with aerocapture and aerobraking of large, heavy payloads for Mars, Titan, and the gas giant planets. During a previous NASA LaRC funded High Mass Mars Entry System study, Andrews Space found that while inflatable aerobrake designs potentially offer the lowest-mass solution, they are challenged from the uncertainties of dynamic response of large soft structures at the sizes required, and from the risks associated with cleanly separating the lander/payload from the decelerator. A "Petal Brake" concept was introduced as an integrated hypersonic entry system design that addresses these issues. The design performs hypersonic aerocapture and entry maneuvers as a biconic aeroshell, then deploys to provide higher drag just prior to terminal descent and landing. It covers a wide range of EDL environments, is structurally determinate, with minimal aero-elastic issues, and with positive separation characteristics during jettison. During Phase I of this project, Andrews proposes to further advance the operational Petal Brake concept by designing and evaluating a point-of-departure petal-brake design for Mars entry, defining a potential test program, then generating a detailed subscale petal-brake design suitable for manufacture, wind tunnel testing, and high altitude deployment testing in Phase II.