Joined: Aug. 2009
|Quote (dhogaza @ Mar. 21 2012,00:13)|
|I’ve been given a promotion at work which will require even more time to solve problems with FEA simulations concerning an inflatable isotensoid supersonic decelerator for upcoming Mars missions.|
In plain english, due to budget cuts, the next mars lander will land on a glorified whoopie cushion.
It is actually intended as a replacement for the parachutes used to decelerate the craft during atmospheric re-entry. They normally use a rigid aero-shell with a parachute capable of supersonic deployment to slow the thing down prior to landing.
The new system, if I recall, is an inflatable cone that deploys to the rear of the spacecraft - it turns the spacecraft into something like a shuttlecock, used when playing Badminton. You get nice stable ballistic flight with lots of drag, but fewer payload size limitations than with the parachute method.
I believe (but couldn't find a citation that wasn't behind a paywall) that GA's are one optimisation technique being used in their design.