Entry Systems Modeling (ESM)

Entry Systems Modeling (ESM)

“The Entry Systems Modeling technology development project helps mature aerosciences and materials products for entry, descent and landing technologies.”

Modeling and simulation is on the critical path for NASA’s planetary exploration program, because it is generally impossible to fully test a new entry system and evaluate its performance prior to the actual mission. The Entry Systems Modeling (ESM) project is developing new capabilities in modeling and simulation for entry systems that will revolutionize the design and overall reliability for future missions.

During any planetary entry, the entry vehicle is exposed to an extreme heating environment. The ESM project is exploring and developing new approaches to accurately predict the spacecraft entry environment and to simulate the response of the thermal protection system to that environment. These predictions are made using complex codes that are extensively validated against test data. As computer codes improve, uncertainty in predictions is reduced, which translates to reduced system mass and/or higher reliability (lower risk).

As the reentry vehicle slows, aerodynamic forces buffet the vehicle and create a highly unsteady and dynamic environment. Predicting the behavior of the spacecraft is critical to understanding its stability and the performance of deceleration systems such as parachutes or supersonic retro-propulsion.

Entry, descent and landing (EDL) technology development is essential in support of the NASA Strategic Plan to demonstrate technologies that will make NASA’s exploration, science, and discovery missions more affordable and more capable. Critical capabilities such as EDL enable our ability to expand the frontiers of knowledge, capability, and opportunity in space.

Principal Technologist: Program Manager:
Michelle Munk (michelle.m.munk@nasa.gov) Mike Wright (michael.j.wright@nasa.gov)

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