IPPW 2020

17th International Planetary Probe Workshop 

Monterey Tides Hotel

Monterey, CA, U.S.

Short Course: EDL State-of-the-Art 2020

The 2020 IPPW Short Course has been cancelled.  The Short course committee will be organizing an updated course, EDL State-of-the-Art 2021, next year.

Short Course Goals

The course is intended to establish an updated “baseline” on state-of-the-art technologies that are related to entry, descent, and landing. It can serve as a tutorial on current, established EDL technologies and those that should now be considered ready for mission infusion. A brief survey course cannot deliver deep insight into any narrow area of the EDL enterprise. Given that IPPW is a single-track conference with broad scope, the course will provide basic context for the full range of conference presentations, so that attendees are better prepared to appreciate new work in areas outside their regular focus.

Short Course Organization

A total of four sessions is planned, with morning and afternoon sessions on each day:

  1. EDL Architectures

  2. Entry Environment and Protection

  3. Descent & Landing

  4. Instrumentation

For each Content Area, we will address the following categories where possible: Mission Heritage, Test SOA, Analysis SOA, and Opportunities. Symbiotic interaction between testing and analysis has increased in recent years for various technologies at each phase of the EDL sequence, which is a motivating factor for organizing sessions by phase. Analysis and test can be discussed with immediate reference to mission function and opportunities for future implementations. Clear identification of Opportunities may deliver ancillary benefit by generating content that can guide planning efforts such as NASA’s Decadal Survey and equivalent efforts for ESA.

Session 1. EDL Architecture
The course opens with an overview of EDL, including options that have been flown and options that remain as opportunities. This is followed by a presentation on the evolution of the Mars Exploration program, with a focus on the distinct requirements that have driven the architectural changes. The next section is about EDL mission opportunities in the next couple of decades, including international perspectives on planetary probes and opportunities for Humans to Mars. The final part of the session provides status on emerging technologies: aerocapture, deployables, and miniature probes. 

Session 2. Entry Environment and Protection
For the entry phase of the mission, the vehicle must decelerate from orbital or superorbital speed (which requires aerodynamic drag), it must accommodate the heating generated during deceleration (which requires estimation of heating and materials that can survive the heating), and it must reach the intended target (which requires an accurate trajectory). The session includes presentations on design methodologies and hardware to support each of these functions and concludes with a Case Study on SOA of the DragonFly vehicle for entry.


Session 3. Descent and Landing
During the descent phase, the environment is less severe, but there is typically a need for further deceleration and for vehicle stability. A presentation on devices for drag and stability management will concentrate on parachutes, and the challenges for both supersonic and subsonic deployables. It will be followed by a discussion of recent developments in propulsive descent and associated control requirements. The landing phase will focus on precision landing, with particular attention on terminal phase Guidance, Navigation and Control. The session will conclude with a case study on MSL/Mars2020 Descent and Landing strategy. 

Session 4. Instrumentation
The instrumentation session has two distinct elements. The first hour is concerned with integration of mission instrumentation into the spacecraft, and the manner in which it can affect EDL implementation decisions. The remainder of the time is devoted to Entry Science Instrumentation, which is now required for NASA Science missions. There is an overview on the ESI initiative, followed by an hour on uses of ESI, split between EDL science, engineering development data for guiding future design, and anomaly diagnostics. Parachute flight testing might deserve 30 minutes on its own, although we can probably squeeze that into the Descent and Landing session.  

Short Course Agenda

Short Course Contact

If you are interested in teaching as a presenter or providing content to support any one of these topics, please contact: 


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