MINIMUM MARS ASCENT VEHICLE: MARS ASCENT RENDEZVOUS SYSTEM FOR HUMAN ASTRONAUTS
AuthorFORDYCE, AMANDA JAE
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThe primary objective of the NASA RASCAL Theme 2 competition is to develop a Minimum Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) under given mass and budget constraints. Outside of these restrictions, it was also required that the vehicle could safely transport two astronauts from the surface of Mars to Low Mars Orbit. To complete this task and meet the requirements of the system, the team was divided into subsystems so as to better develop each aspect of the design. This included developing and analyzing the propulsion, guidance navigation and control, thermal, computer, and structure systems to design a successful launch vehicle. The team then completed a preliminary and critical design review of the system, ultimately choosing to physically test technology which could be used in the scenario of an abort to the Martian surface. This technology, known as a ballute, is a drag device that is predicted to operate well under conditions of a thin atmosphere and high speeds, making this device a promising option for Mars reentry. After analysis of the physical testing done in a subsonic wind tunnel at the University of Arizona, the team determined that a ballute abort system was not enough to slow the vehicle safely at the current design parameters, meaning the ballute would have to be paired with another system such as parachutes or a powered landing. The team developed a full scale MAV according to the NASA RASCAL competition guidelines and additionally explored the use of ballute technology in the case of an abort-to-surface scenario.
Degree ProgramAerospace Engineering