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Entry, Descent, and Landing Systems


"The SBIR focus area of Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) includes the suite of technologies for atmospheric entry as well as descent and landing on both atmospheric and non-atmospheric bodies. EDL mission segments are used in both robotic planetary science missions and human exploration missions beyond Low Earth Orbit, and some technologies have application to commercial space capabilities.Robust, efficient, and predictable EDL systems fulfill the critical function of delivering payloads to planetary surfaces through challenging environments, within mass and cost constraints. Future NASA missions will require new technologies to break through historical constraints on delivered mass, or to go to entirely new planets and moons. Even where heritage systems exist, no two planetary missions are exactly “build-to-print,” so there are frequently issues of environmental uncertainty, risk posture, and resource constraints that can be dramatically improved with investments in EDL technologies. New capabilities and improved knowledge are both important facets of this focus area.Because this topic covers a wide area of interests, subtopics are chosen to enhance and or fill gaps in the existing technology development programs.Future subtopics will support one or more of four broad capability areas, which represent NASA’s goals with respect to planetary Entry, Descent and Landing:• High Mass to Mars Surface• Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance• Planetary Probes and Earth Return Vehicles• EDL Data Return and Model ImprovementA cross-cutting set of disciplines and technologies will help mature these four capability areas, to enable more efficient, reliable exploration missions. These more specific topics and subtopics may include, but are not limited to:• Thermal Protection System materials, modeling, and instrumentation• Deployable and inflatable decelerators (hypersonic and supersonic)• Guidance, Navigation, and Control sensors and algorithms• Aerodynamics and Aerothermodynamics advances, including modeling and testing• Precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance sensors• Multifunctional materials and structuresThis year the Entry, Descent and Landing focus area is seeking innovative technology for:• Deployable Decelerator Technologies• EDL Sensors, including those embedded in thermal protection systems and those used for proximity operations and landing• Hot Structure Technology for Atmospheric Entry Vehicles• Lander Systems TechnologyThe specific needs and metrics of each of these specific technology developments are described in the subtopic descriptions."
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