Aerodynamic Design for a 3-D Printable Mars Surface Lander

Riesing, Kathleen [Browse]
Senior thesis
165 pages


Tam, Margaret [Browse]
Princeton University. Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering [Browse]
Class year
Restrictions note
Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Summary note
Printed electronics are expanding as a commercial industry and have great potential to advance space mission architecture. An end-to-end printed spacecraft has been proposed by a team at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and a potential area that would greatly benefit from printed spacecraft are network missions. A proposed mission concept is to release a large number of these printed spacecraft on Mars and have them passively land to do basic sensing. In this work, we examine potential passive surface landers to fulfill this goal. The research presented here includes a survey of passive lander designs and an indepth analysis of an autorotator, a hexagonal pyramid, and a glider. Prototypes were designed, constructed, and tested experimentally for dispersion and ight stability. Monte Carlo simulations were developed for these vehicles in the Mars environment, allowing an estimate of dispersion. Finally, a basic subsystem layout was developed and some aspects of the communications and power subsystems for the spacecraft were addressed. Ultimately, the hexagonal pyramid and glider are recommended as potential surface lander designs. The hexagonal pyramid design had excellent stability and packing efficiency. However, the dispersion was estimated to only be on the order of tens of thousands of square meters. The glider design had a predicted dispersion on the order of tens of square kilometers, but suffered from potential stability issues in the Mars environment. While the ideal platform depends on specific mission requirements, through this work we develop insights and tools to characterize surface lander performance that can be used in more advanced planning stages.

Supplementary Information