Kilometer-scale Transient Atmospheres for Kinetic Payload Deposition on Icy Bodies
Koch, James Vincent
MetadataShow full item record
Entry, descent, and landing technologies for space exploration missions to atmospheric bodies traditionally exploit the body’s ambient atmosphere as a medium through which a spacecraft or probe can interact to transfer momentum and energy for a soft landing. For bodies with no appreciable atmosphere, a signiﬁcant engineering challenge exists to overcome the lack of passive methods to decelerate a spacecraft or probe. Proposed is a novel means for the creation of a transient atmosphere for airless icy bodies through the use of a two stage payload-penetrator probe. The ﬁrst stage is a hyper-velocity penetrator that impacts the icy body. The second stage is an aero-braking-capable probe directed to pass through the ejecta plume from the hyper-velocity impact. Both experimental and computational studies show that a controlled high-energy impact can direct and transfer energy and momentum to a probe via a collimated ejecta plume. In an eﬀort to provide clarity to this unexplored class of missions, a modeling-based engineering approach is taken to provide a ﬁrst-order estimation of some of the involved physical phenomena. Three sub-studies are presented: an examination and characterization of ice plumes, modeling plume-probe interaction, and the extension of plume modeling as the basis for conceptual mission design. The modeling eﬀorts are centered about two modeling formulations: smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) and the arbitrary Largrangian-Eulerian (ALE) set of techniques. A database of fully-developed hypervelocity impacts and their associated plumes is created and used as inputs to a 1-D mathematical model for the interaction of a continuum-based plume and probe. A parametric study based on the hyper-velocity impact and staging of the probe-penetrator system is presented and discussed. Shown is that a tuned penetrator-probe mission has the potential to increase spacecraft payload mass fraction over conventional soft landing schemes.