Tradespace model for planetary surface exploration hopping vehicles
Author(s)Cunio, Phillip M
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Jeffrey A. Hoffman.
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Robotic planetary surface exploration, which has greatly benefited humankind's scientific knowledge of the solar system, has to date been conducted by sedentary landers or by slow, terrain-limited rovers. However, there are other types of vehicles which can conduct planetary surface exploration. One of these is hopping vehicles, which do not require fluid contact or ground contact in order to move, but instead propulsively balance thrust from their engines against gravity to propel themselves over the surface. Hopping vehicles are still a nascent technology, however, and no spaceborne hopping vehicles have yet flown. In order to bring hopping vehicles into the decision space for planetary surface exploration missions, in this thesis we provide a framework to understand hopping vehicles' key characteristics and advantages, as well as a tradespace model to size hopping vehicles based on mission characteristics. The tradespace model takes user-input mission requirements, including target planetary body, scientific payload, and a detailed flight profile, and produces a subsystem-level model of a hopping vehicle which can complete the mission. Information on the operational profile and lifecycle costs of the hopping vehicle is also produced. The tradespace model also permits users to capture results from one model run and compare them to other model runs, or to results produced by other models. In this thesis, the tradespace model is described, and initial tradespace investigation is performed using the model. Finally, lessons learned are summarized and suggestions are offered for future research. The thesis closes with a summation of the potential offered by hopping vehicles for planetary surface exploration missions in the decades to come.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 2012.CD-ROM contains files in .m and .xls formats.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 243-257).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aeronautics and Astronautics.