Passive vs. parachute system architecture for robotic sample return vehicles
2016 IEEE Aerospace Conference
The Multi-Mission Earth Entry Vehicle (MMEEV) is a flexible vehicle concept based on the Mars Sample Return (MSR) EEV design which can be used in the preliminary sample return mission study phase to parametrically investigate any trade space of interest to determine the best entry vehicle design approach for that particular mission concept. In addition to the trade space dimensions often considered (e.g. entry conditions, payload size and mass, vehicle size, etc.), the MMEEV trade space
... trade space considers whether it might be more beneficial for the vehicle to utilize a parachute system during descent/landing or to be fully passive (i.e. not use a parachute). In order to evaluate this trade space dimension, a simplified parachute system model has been developed based on inputs such as vehicle size/mass, payload size/mass and landing requirements. This model works in conjunction with analytical approximations of a mission trade space dataset provided by the MMEEV System Analysis for Planetary EDL (M-SAPE) tool to help quantify the differences between an active (with parachute) and a passive (no parachute) vehicle concept. Preliminary results over a range of EEV and mission constraints (including entry conditions, vehicle size, payload mass, and landing requirements) are provided. For most sample return missions, the landing requirement (velocity and/or load) is ultimately determined by science considerations (e.g. sample preservation or containment). Regions of the trade space are identified where a parachute system is clearly more beneficial than the passive approach, and vice versa. Where the choice between the two architectures is less clear, additional considerations must also be taken into account including factors such as overall system reliability; system risk and complexity; and development and testing costs.