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Sherpa Moving Mass Entry Descent Landing System

[+] Author Affiliations
J. Balaram

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA

Paper No. DETC2005-85283, pp. 63-79; 17 pages
  • ASME 2005 International Design Engineering Technical Conferences and Computers and Information in Engineering Conference
  • Volume 6: 5th International Conference on Multibody Systems, Nonlinear Dynamics, and Control, Parts A, B, and C
  • Long Beach, California, USA, September 24–28, 2005
  • Conference Sponsors: Design Engineering Division and Computers and Information in Engineering Division
  • ISBN: 0-7918-4743-8 | eISBN: 0-7918-3766-1
  • Copyright © 2005 by ASME


We describe Sherpa — a S trap-on H igh-altitude E ntry R econnaissance & P recision A eromaneuver system that utilizes a moving mass system within an entry capsule to land a spacecraft precisely onto the surface of Mars. Sherpa uses two sets of “strap-on” assemblies, one for high-altitude sensing using a terrain imager, and another for agile hypersonic flight using a moving-mass steering device. In this paper we focus on the moving mass system — a steering device that provides an agile trajectory control capability that is mechanically simple, completely internal to the vehicle, has high control authority, and is robust to mechanism failure. The Sherpa system takes a small fraction (5–10%) of the total system mass, and is capable of delivering payloads to within the proximity (~5 km) of a wide variety of landing sites including those at high-altitude (2.5+ km above the reference geoid).

Copyright © 2005 by ASME



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