Planetary Landers And Entry Probes


The Open University


Leiden University


Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory


NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory




Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo Cambridge University Press

The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York

Information on this title: © A. Ball, J. Garry, R. Lorenz and V. Kerzhanovich 2007

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception and to the provision of relevant collective licensing agreements, no reproduction of any part may take place without the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published in print format 2007

ISBN-13 978-0-511-28461-8 eBook (EBL) ISBN-10 0-511-28461-6 eBook (EBL)

ISBN-13 978-0-521-82002-8 hardback ISBN-10 0-521-82002-2 hardback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of urls for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.


Preface page xi

Acknowledgements xii

List of acronyms and abbreviations xiii

PART I Engineering issues specific to entry probes, landers or penetrators 1

1 Mission goals and system engineering 3

1.1 Systems engineering 3

1.2 Choice of landing site 7

2 Accommodation, launch, cruise and arrival from orbit or interplanetary trajectory 14

2.1 The launch environment 14

2.2 Transfer-trajectory choice 15

2.3 Arrival strategies 23

3 Entering atmospheres 24

3.1 Entry dynamics 24

3.2 Thermodynamics of entry 27

3.3 TPS technologies 31

3.4 Practicalities 32

4 Descent through an atmosphere 36

4.1 Overview and fundamentals 36

4.2 Extreme ballistic coefficients 36

4.3 Drag enhancement devices 39

4.4 Parachute types 40

4.5 Testing 44

4.6 Additional components of a descent control system 45

4.7 Mars - retro-rockets in atmosphere 45

5 Descent to an airless body 47

5.1 The gravity turn 48

5.2 Efficient descent 48

5.3 Realistic trajectories 48

5.4 Example - direct descent - Surveyor 49

5.5 Examples: Luna 16 and Apollo 50

5.6 Small bodies 50

5.7 Instrumentation 51

5.8 Powered re-ascent 54

5.9 Hover 54

5.10 Combined techniques - system engineering 55

6 Planetary balloons, aircraft, submarines and cryobots 56

6.1 Balloons 56

6.2 Powered aerobots (airships) 63

6.3 Aeroplanes and gliders 66

6.4 Other heavier-than-air concepts for aerial mobility 68

6.5 Submarines, hydrobots and cryobots 69

7 Arrival at a surface 71

7.1 Targeting and hazard avoidance 71

7.2 Landing gear 72

7.3 Penetration dynamics 78

7.4 Splashdown dynamics: Titan landers, Earth-return capsules 80

8 Thermal control of landers and entry probes 84

8.1 Surface coatings and radiation balance 85

8.2 Internal heat transfer 86

8.3 Thermal environment during descent 87

8.4 Thermal testing 91

8.5 Thermal modelling 91

9 Power systems 94

9.1 System requirements 94

9.2 Power and energy budgets 95

9.3 Radioisotope sources 96

9.4 Solar power 98

9.5 Battery technology 101

9.6 Other power sources 103

9.7 Power and thermal control 103

9.8 Nuts and bolts 104

10 Communication and tracking of entry probes 105

10.1 Entry probes: communication basics 107

10.2 Main telecom equation 112

10.3 Frequency measurements 114

10.4 Data transmission 115

10.5 Link budget 117

10.6 Tracking 117

11 Radiation environment 121

12 Surface activities: arms, drills, moles and mobility 124

13 Structures 130

14 Contamination of spacecraft and planets 132

14.1 Sources of contamination 134

14.2 Current regulations for spacecraft-borne bioload 136

14.3 Techniques for cleaning and sterilizing 136

14.4 Problems specific to spacecraft 143

14.5 Cleanliness as a separate goal 145

14.6 Sample return 146

PART II Previous atmosphere/surface vehicles and their payloads 147

15 Destructive impact probes 151

16 Atmospheric entry probes 153

16.1 First Soviet Venera and Mars entry probes 153

16.2 Venera 4-8 (V-67, V-69, V-70 and V-72) entry probes 159

16.3 Pioneer Venus probes 159

16.4 VeGa AZ balloons 170

16.5 Galileo Probe 173

16.6 Huygens 175

17 Pod landers 177

17.1 Ranger Block 2 Seismo capsules 178

17.4 Mars 96 Small Stations 186

17.5 Mars Pathfinder 190

17.6 Beagle 2 191

17.7 Mars Exploration Rovers 196

18 Legged landers 199

18.1 Surveyor landers 199

18.2 Apollo lunar modules 199

18.3 Luna 17, 21 (Ye-8) landers and the Lunokhods 203

18.6 Soviet LK lunar lander 203

18.7 Venera 9-14 (4V-1) and VeGa (5VK) landers 203

18.8 Viking landers 203

18.9 Mars Surveyor landers 227

18.10 Mars Science Laboratory 234

19 Payload delivery penetrators 238

19.1 Mars 96 penetrators 240

19.2 Deep Space 2 Mars Microprobes 243

19.3 Lunar-A penetrators 245

20 Small body surface missions 247

20.1 Phobos 1F 247

20.2 NEAR Shoemaker 253

20.3 Rosetta lander Philae 253

20.4 Hayabusa (MUSES-C) and MINERVA 257

PART III Case studies 261

21 Surveyor landers 263

21.1 Design 264

21.2 Flight performance 265

22 Galileo probe 267

22.1 Equipment 268

22.2 Flight performance 270

23 Huygens 273

24 Mars Pathfinder and Sojourner 284

25 Deep Space 2 Mars Microprobes 289

26 Rosetta lander Philae 299

27 Mars Exploration Rovers: Spirit and Opportunity 304

27.1 The spacecraft 304

27.2 The rovers 307

27.3 Problems encountered 311

Appendix: Some key parameters for bodies in the Solar System 313

Atmosphere models 313

Bibliography 316

Engineering 316

Reference 319

Planetary sciences 319

Historical 320

Some useful web sites 321

References 323



This book is intended as a concise but broad overview of the engineering, science and flight history of planetary landers and atmospheric probes. Such vehicles are subject to a wide range of design and operational issues that are not experienced by 'ordinary' spacecraft such as Earth-orbiting satellites, or even by interplanetary flyby or orbital craft. Such issues deserve special attention, and we have attempted to bring together in one place brief discussions of many of these aspects, providing pointers to more detailed (but dispersed) coverage in the wider published literature. This volume also draws heavily on real examples of landers and probes launched (or, at least, where the launch vehicle's engines were started with that intention!).

More than 45 years have passed since the first vehicles of this type were designed. To a certain extent some past missions, of which there are over one hundred, may now be considered irrelevant from a scientific point of view, outdated from an engineering point of view and perhaps mere footnotes in the broader history of planetary exploration achievements. However, we believe they all have a place in the cultural and technical history of such endeavours, serving to illustrate the evolving technical approaches and requirements as well as lessons learned along the way. They stand as testament to the efforts of those involved in their conception and implementation.

Part one of the book addresses the major engineering issues that are specific to the vehicles considered, namely atmospheric entry probes, landers and penetrators for other worlds. For material common to spacecraft in general we would refer the reader to other, existing sources. Part II aims to collect together in one place some key information on previous vehicles and their missions, with reference to the main sources of more detailed information. Part III covers some of these missions in further detail as 'case studies'.

January, 2006


The authors wish to thank Susan Francis and her colleagues at Cambridge University Press for their encouragement and patience. Many colleagues and contacts have helped with specific queries, including: Aleksandr T. Basilevsky, Jens Biele, Jacques Blamont, Peter Bond, Jim Burke, Alex Ellery, Bernard Foing, Aleksandr Gurshtein, Leonid Gurvits, Ari-Matti Harri, Mat Irvine, Oleg Khavroshkin, Vladimir Kurt, Bernard Laub, Mikhail Ya. Marov, Serguei Matrossov, Michel Menvielle, Don P. Mitchell, Dave Northey, Colin T. Pillinger, Sergei Pogrebenko, Jean-Pierre Pommereau, Lutz Richter, Andy Salmon, Mark Sims, Oleg A. Sorokhtin, Yuri A. Surkov, Fred W. Taylor, Stephan Ulamec, Paolo Ulivi, David Williams, Andrew Wilson, Ian P. Wright, Hajime Yano, and Olga Zhdanovich. We would also like to thank Professor John Zarnecki and the staff at the Open University Library. The diagrams that populate Part II were drawn using information gleaned from a variety of sources. While researching specific details for spacecraft, the authors were glad to receive help from the following people: Charles Sobeck, Bernard Bienstock, Corby Waste, Marty Tomasko, Marcie Smith, Dan Maas, Doug Lombardi, Debra Lueb, Martin Towner, Mark Leese, Steve Lingard and John Underwood.

List of acronyms and abbreviations

ACP Aerosol Collector/Pyrolyser

ADS Active Descent System

AFM Atomic Force Microscope

AIAA American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

ALSEP Apollo Lunar Surface Experiments Package

AMICA Asteroid Multiband Imaging Camera

AMTEC Alkali Metal Thermionic Emission Technology


APEX Athena Precursor Experiment

APX Alpha-Proton X-ray spectrometer OR Alpha Particle X-ray spectrometer

APXS Alpha-Proton X-ray Spectrometer OR Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer

ARAD Analog Resistance Ablation Detector

ARES Atmospheric Relaxation and Electric field Sensor

ASAP Ariane Structure for Auxiliary Payloads

ASI Atmospheric Structure Instrument

ATMIS ATmospheric structure and Meteorological Instrument System

AU Astronomical Unit

AXS Alpha-X-ray Spectrometer

AZ (A3) Aerostatic Zond (AapocTaTHMH 3oha)

BER Bit Error Rate

BOL Beginning-Of-Life

BPSK Binary Phase-Shift Keying

CASSE Cometary Acoustic Surface Sounding Experiment

CCD Charge-Coupled Device

CD Compact Disk

CDMS Command and Data Management System

CDMU Command and Data Management Unit

CFRP Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic

CHARGE CHemical Analysis of Released Gas Experiment

CIRCLE Champollion Infrared and Camera Lander Experiment

CIVA Comet nucleus Infrared and Visible Analyser

CNES Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales

CNP Comet Nucleus Penetrator

CNSR Comet Nucleus Sample Return

CoM Centre of Mass

CONSERT COmet Nucleus Sounding Experiment by Radiowave Transmission

COSAC COmetary Sampling And Composition experiment

COSPAR COmmittee on SPAce Research

CPPP Comet Physical Properties Package

CR Cosmic Ray

CRAF Comet Rendezvous/Asteroid Flyby

CSM Command and Service Module

DAS (,2,AC) Long-lived Autonomous Station

(¿JojiroHCHBymyio AßTOHOMHyio Crampuo)

DC Direct Current

DCP Data and Command Processor


DGB Disc-Gap-Band

DIM Dust Impact Monitor

DIMES Descent Image Motion Estimation System

DISR Descent Imager - Spectral Radiometer

DLBI Differential Long Baseline Interferometer

DLR Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (German

Aerospace Centre)

DNA Deoxyribonucleic Acid

DoD Depth of Discharge

DPI Descent Phase Instrument

DSC Differential Scanning Calorimeter

DSN Deep Space Network

DS-2 Deep Space 2

DTE Direct To Earth

DVLBI Differential Very Long Baseline Interferometry

DWE Doppler Wind Experiment

EADS European Aeronautic, Defence and Space Company

EASEP Early Apollo Surface Experiments Package

EDI Entry, Descent and Inflation

EDL Entry, Descent and Landing

EDLS Entry, Descent and Landing System

EEPROM Electrically-Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory

EM ElectroMagnetic

EPDM Ethylene Propylene Diene, Modified

EPI Energetic Particles Instrument

ESA European Space Agency

ESS Environmental Sensors Suite

ETR Eastern Test Range

FBC Faster, Better, Cheaper

FBS Fan-Beam Sensor

FMCW Frequency Modulated Continuous Wave

FRCI Fibrous Refractory Composite Insulation

FSK Frequency-Shift Keying

GAP Gas Analysis Package

GCMS Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer

GCR Galactic Cosmic Ray

GPR Ground-Penetrating Radar

GRAM Global Reference Atmospheric Model

GZU (r3Y) Ground Sampling Device (rpyhto3a6ophoe Yctpohctbo)

HAD Helium Abundance Detector

HASI Huygens Atmospheric Structure Instrument

HGA High Gain Antenna

IDD Instrument Deployment Device

IDL Interactive Data Language

IF Intermediate Frequency

IKI (HKH) Institute for Space Research


IMP Imager for Mars Pathfinder

IMU Inertial Momentum Unit

IPIU Instrument Power Interface Unit

IR InfraRed

ISAS Institute of Space and Astronautical Science

ISEE-3 International Sun - Earth Explorer 3

ISIS In Situ Imaging System

ITU International Telecommunication Union

IUS Inertial Upper Stage

JPL Jet Propulsion Laboratory

KEP Kinetic Energy Penetrator KhM-VD (XM-Bfl) Running Model - Wind Engine

(XoflOBMx MaKeT - BeTpo^Burarejib)

KSC Kennedy Space Center

LAS Large Atmospheric Structure

LCPS Large Cloud Particle Size Spectrometer

LET Linear Energy Transfer

LGA Low Gain Antenna

LGC Large Gas Chromatograph

LIDAR Light Detection And Ranging

LIR Large Infrared Radiometer

LK (JIK) Lunar Ship (JlyHHMH KopaÖJib)

LM Lunar Module

LN Large Nephelometer

LNMS Large Neutral Mass Spectrometer

LRD Lightning and Radio emissions Detector

LRF Laser Range-Finder

LRV Lunar Roving Vehicle

LS (JIC) Lunar Seismometer (JIymn>i0 CeHCMOMeTp)

LSFR Large Solar Flux Radiometer

LTA Lighter Than Air

MAE Materials Adherance Experiment

MAG Magnetometer

MAGNET Magnetometer for NetLander

MAHLI MArs HandLens Imager

MARDI MARs Descent Imager

MARIE MArtian Radiation envIronment Experiment

MB MossBauer spectrometer

MBS MossBauer Spectrometer

MECA Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment

MECA Microscopy, Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyser

MEEC Mars Experiment on Electrostatic Charging

MEKOM Meteorological Complex (MeTeoKOMirneKc) (MEKOM)

MER Mars Exploration Rover

MESUR Mars Environmental SURvey

MET Meteorological Package

MET Modular Equipment Transporter

MEx Mars Express

MFEX Microrover Flight Experiment

MGS Mars Global Surveyor

MI Microscopic Imager

MIC Mars Microphone

MIC Microscope

MINERVA MIcro/Nano Experimental Robot Vehicle for Asteroid

Mini-TES Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer

MIP Mars In situ Propellant production precursor

MIS Meteorology Instrument System

MLI Multi-Layer Insulation

MMRTG Mutli-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator MNTK (MHTK) International Scientific and Technical Committee

^e^^rcapoflhhh Ha^HbiH TexmraecKH Komhtct)

MOx Mars Oxidant experiment

MPAe Max-Planck-Institut für Aeronomie

MPL Mars Polar Lander

MPRO atMospheric PROpagation

MSB (MCE) Small Solar Battery (Majiaa CojiHemras BaTapea)

MSL Mars Science Laboratory

MUPUS MUlti-PUrpose Sensors for surface and sub-surface science

MUSES-C MU Space Engineering Spacecraft C


MTUR atMospheric TURbulence

MVACS Mars Volatiles And Climate Surveyor

MWIN atMospheric WINd

NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NEAR Near-Earth Asteroid Rendezvous

NEIGE NEtlander Ionospheric and Geodesic Experiment

NEO Near-Earth Object

NEP Nephelometer

NFR Net Flux Radiometer

NII (HHH) Scientific Research Institute


NII PDS Scientific Research Institute for Parachute Landing Service

(HHH nflC) (HayHHO-HccJießOBaTeJibCKHH HHermyr napamioTHO-^ecaHTHOH Cnyacßu)

NIRS Near-InfraRed Spectrometer

NMS Neutral Mass Spectrometer

NPO (HnO) Scientific Production Association

(HayHH0-ITp0H3B0; (CTneHHoe Ofoe^HHeHHe)






PrOP (IlpOn) prop-f (npon






NEC Toshiba Space Systems Optical Depth Sensor Orbiter Delay Time Experimental Design Bureau (OnHTHO-KOHCTpyKTOpCKOe Biopo) Optical Navigation Camera

Observatoire PlaneTologlque: Magnetlsme et Sismologie sur Mars

PANoramic CAMera

Position Adjustable Workbench


Personal Computer

Pulse Code Modulation

Pyro Control Unit


Principal Investigator

Phase-Locked Loop

PLanetary Underground TOol

Phase Modulation

Permittivity Probe

Programmable Read-Only Memory

Instrument for the Evaluation of Passability

(npa6op OljeHKH IIpOXOflHMO cth)

Mobile Robot for the Evaluation of the Surface of Phobos

(noflbhachoii Po6ot Ou;eHKH Il0BepxH0CTH ®o6oca)

Mobile Robot for the Evaluation of the Surface of Mars

(ttoflbhachoh Po6ot oi^ehkh IIoBepxHOcth Mapca)

Instrument for the Evaluation of the Surface of Venus

(npa6op OijeHKH IIoBepxHocTH BeHepa)

Probe Support Equipment

Phase-Shift Keying


Pressure, Temperature, hUmidity and Wind


Robotic Arm

Robotic Arm Atmospheric Temperature Sensor

Robotic Arm Camera

Radiation Assessment Detector

Rocket-Assisted Descent

Radar Altimeter & Doppler Velocity Sensor

RAM Random Access Memory

RAT Rock Abrasion Tool

RF Radio Frequency

RHU Radioisotope Heater Unit

RIFMA (PHOMA) Roentgen Isotopic Fluorescence Method of Analysis

(PeHTreH H30T0nH0e OjiyopecuHpoBamie Meroa ÄHajnraa) RKK (PKK) Rocket-Space Corporation

(PaKeTHO-KocMHHecKaa Kopnopaiiiia) RMS Root-Mean-Square

RNII (PHHH) Russian Scientific Research Institute


RNII KP Russian Scientific Research Institute for Space Device



HHCTHTyT KoCMHHeCKOrO npHÖOpOCTpOeHHfl) ROLIS ROsetta Lander Imaging System

ROMAP ROsetta lander Magnetometer And Plasma monitor

RPA Retarding Potential Analyser

RTG Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator

RX Receiving

SAA South Atlantic Anomaly

SAM Sample Analysis at Mars

SAMPLL Simplified Analytical Model of Penetration with Lateral


SAS Small Atmospheric Structure

SCS Stereo Camera System

SD2 Sampling, Drilling and Distribution system

SEIS SEISmometer

SESAME Surface Electrical, Seismic and Acoustic Monitoring

Experiments SEU Single Event Upset

SI Systeme Internationale

SINDA Systems Improved Numerical Differencing Analyzer

SIRCA-SPLIT Silicone-Impregnated Reusable Ceramic Ablator - Secondary Polymer Layer-Impregnated Technique SIS SISmometre

SLA Super-Lightweight Ablator

SMSS Soil Mechanics Surface Sampler

SN Small Nephelometer

SNFR Small Net Flux Radiometer

SNR Signal-to-Noise Ratio

SPICE Soil Properties: thermal Inertia and Cohesion Experiment

SPIU System Power Interface Unit

SSB Space Studies Board

SSI Surface Stereo Imager

SSP Surface Science Package

SSV Small Science Vehicle OR Small Separable Vehicle

STP Soil Temperature Probe

TDL Tunable Diode Laser

TECP Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe

TEGA Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer

TIRS Transverse Impulse Rocket System

TM Thermal Mapper

TNO Trans-Neptunian Object

TPS Thermal Protection System

TsUP (I^YII) Mission Control Centre (IJeinp YnpaBJieHHH IIojieTaMH)

TV Television

TX Transmission

UDMH Unsymmetrical DiMethyl Hydrazine

UHF Ultra High Frequency

UK United Kingdom

US United States

USA United States of America

USO Ultra-Stable Oscillator

UV UltraViolet

VCO Voltage-Controlled Oscillator

VeGa (BeTa) Venus-Halley (BeHepa-ranjiefi)

VHF Very High Frequency

VLBI Very Long Baseline Interferometry

VNIITransMash All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Transport

(BHHHTpaHcMam) Machine-Building

(BcepoccHHCKHH HayHHO-Hccjie^OBaTejibCKHH ïÎHCTHTyT TpaHcnopTHoro MarnHHOCipoeHHa)

Wheel Abrasion Experiment Wet Chemistry Laboratory Warm Electronics Box World War 2 X-Ray Diffraction X-Ray Fluorescence X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer


XRS X-Ray Spectrometer

2MV (2MB) 2nd generation Mars/Venus (2 Mapc/BeHepa)

3-DL 3-Dimensional Laminate

3MV (3MB) 3rd generation Mars/Venus (3 Mapc/BeHepa)

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