Session

Technical Session 13: Future Missions/Capabilities

Location

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Abstract

Aerocapture is a maneuver that can improve the capabilities of interplanetary small satellite missions to efficiently deliver a probe to a target destination. The maneuver is accomplished with a single atmospheric pass followed by a small propulsive burn to reach the final orbit. In this paper, we consider a SmallSat atmospheric sampling probe with an existing heatshield and evaluate the performance and benefits of ballistic aerocapture. The performance is assessed by comparing ΔV required of a fully propulsive orbital insertion and that of a ballistic aerocapture. Significant fuel mass savings can be achieved with a passive lifting vehicle. With a sample case of arrival V of 4 km/s, vehicle ballistic coefficient of 200 kg/m2, and lift-to-drag ratio (L/D) from to 0.5, the results show a 99-percentile ΔV saving of 30 m/s for L/D of 0, 1700 m/s for 0.2, and 2600 m/s for 0.4 and peak heat rate of about 100–750 W/cm2, a peak total heat load of about 4–20 kJ/cm2, and a peak deceleration load of up to 18 Earth’s G.

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Aug 12th, 11:00 AM

Ballistic Aerocapture for SmallSat: A Case Study for Venus Atmospheric Sampling Probe

Utah State University, Logan, UT

Aerocapture is a maneuver that can improve the capabilities of interplanetary small satellite missions to efficiently deliver a probe to a target destination. The maneuver is accomplished with a single atmospheric pass followed by a small propulsive burn to reach the final orbit. In this paper, we consider a SmallSat atmospheric sampling probe with an existing heatshield and evaluate the performance and benefits of ballistic aerocapture. The performance is assessed by comparing ΔV required of a fully propulsive orbital insertion and that of a ballistic aerocapture. Significant fuel mass savings can be achieved with a passive lifting vehicle. With a sample case of arrival V of 4 km/s, vehicle ballistic coefficient of 200 kg/m2, and lift-to-drag ratio (L/D) from to 0.5, the results show a 99-percentile ΔV saving of 30 m/s for L/D of 0, 1700 m/s for 0.2, and 2600 m/s for 0.4 and peak heat rate of about 100–750 W/cm2, a peak total heat load of about 4–20 kJ/cm2, and a peak deceleration load of up to 18 Earth’s G.