Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) Technology Development for the Maraia Earth Return Capsule

PI: Alan Strahan, NASA/Johnson Space Center

A sounding rocket flying out of Spaceport America in southern New Mexico will be used to help advance the understanding of the high-speed performance and active control of a candidate small atmospheric entry capsule that may one day return scientific samples from the International Space Station or demonstrate Entry technologies later used at Mars. The SpaceLoft XL rocket, built and operated by UP Aerospace, will carry a 15 lb 10 inch dia. subscale prototype of the capsule, to an altitude greater than 110 km, where it will deploy the capsule via spring ejection for a very high-altitude descent towards the earth, aided only by gravity.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA02 In-Space Propulsion Technologies
  • TA05 Communication and Navigation
  • TA09 Entry, Descent and Landing Systems
Problem Statement

Overall this test will investigate and inform the design of the Entry Descent and Landing (EDL) subsystems for a small earth return capsule. Such a capsule design would then allow for the on-demand return of small samples from the ISS and provide for the advancement of other exploration related EDL technologies, by acting as an earth atmospheric entry test-bed.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    NRA-2-APP-E (Aug 2013)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 1 sRLV

Development Team

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