Mars Glider Swarm Design and Testing at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

Alex Healy, Dr. Angela Des Jardins, Department of Physics, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT, 59715

Mars Glider Swarm is a spinoff of the PRANDTL-M (Preliminary Research AerodyNamic Design To Land on Mars) project. PRANDTL-M investigated the concept of a glider design using the proven wing twist technology from the PRANDTL-D (Preliminary Research AerodyNamic Design To Lower Drag) project that could be flown in the atmosphere of Mars. In the summer of 2019, the team was tasked with finding the spread and payload of a swarm of gliders sent to Mars, given a set launch mass. To investigate this, past glider designs were modified and flight tested to gain familiarity with the system and to put bounds on the controllability of the aircraft, and a new glider was designed and flight tested to find the spread and payload of a glider swarm. The new glider must fit in a small enclosure, unfold, and carry as much payload as far as possible in the thin atmosphere of Mars. It was designed with the wing twist necessary to create proverse yaw, which allows it to fly without a vertical tail and be folded into a smaller package. It must be thin enough to fly in the thin atmosphere of Mars while containing the components necessary to control its flight. The data obtained from flight testing will inform future research into the possibility of flying fixed-wing gliders on Mars.

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Alex Healy

Institution: Montana State University Bozeman

Type: Oral

Subject: Engineering

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Oral 8
Date/Time: Tue 5:00pm-6:00pm
Session Number: 821
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