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Center Innovation Fund: ARC CIF

Guidance and Control Architecture Design and Demonstration for Low Ballistic Coefficient Atmospheric Entry

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

We propose to develop an active guidance and control (G&C) system for the ADEPT (Adaptable Deployable Entry and Placement Technology) entry vehicle for Aerocapture and Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) missions with large payloads. The ADEPT concept utilizes a mechanically deployable aeroshell with a flexible carbon fabric, a multi-functional element that is drag generating decelerator and thermal protection system, for planetary entry. This research will allow extending the current investment beyond simple ballistic entry to accomplish lift guided entries, including Aerocapture at Venus, Mars and other destinations. The goal of this research, which has never been done, is to utilize ADEPT aeroshell as a controllable G&C effector through innovative aerosurface actuation concepts and real-time optimization based control methods for planetary entry maneuvers. 

The proposed research aims to design and implement an innovative lift vector control system so as to generate aerodynamic forces and moments needed for guided planetary aerocapture and precision EDL missions at Mars and Venus using the low ballistic coefficient concept ADEPT. The revolutionary aspect of the proposed research is that such active control methods with deployable aerosurface for large payload systems have never been demonstrated beyond conceptualization. The key enabling technology behind this new approach is the advanced real-time convex optimization based G&C methodology specifically tailored for planetary entry vehicle with controllable aeroshell. 

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