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Phoenix EDL Targeting and Simulation

As the Phoenix spacecraft approaches Mars, a process called "targeting" is used to determine the final aim point for the spacecraft's entry into the Martian atmosphere. This aim point is chosen by running a physics-based EDL simulator called DSENDS.

Phoenix Landing Points and Ellipse From DSENDS

DSENDS uses an initial guess at an aim point provided by an inter-planetary trajectory solution, and then propagates the spacecraft trajectory from entry through landing. Based upon the miss-distance to the desired landing site, DSENDS adjusts the aim point. The new aim point is then fed back to the inter-planetary trajectory tools and is used to determine the final trajectory correction maneuver (i.e., thruster firings) needed to achieve precision landing. Using the hazard map of the surface described above, a Monte-Carlo simulation of the EDL sequence is used to determine the dispersions of the landing point, and the associated risk of landing.

People on this Project

Christopher Lim


  1. J. Balaram, R. Mukherjee, "Attitude Dynamics and Control of Moving Mass Multibody Aeromaneuver Vehicle," AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference. AIAA-2008-6390., 01 August 2008.