Elecnor Deimos was responsible of the study in coordination with the European Space Agency.
A preliminary design activity was carried out to evaluate different solutions, including winged vehicles landing on a runway and lifting bodies performing a soft landing with a parafoil. A Multidisciplinary-Design Analysis and Optimization process (MDA-MDO) has been implemented as the instrument to evaluate the performance of the different concepts as a function of key design parameters, and produce optimized solutions that have been traded-off to identify the best option for a detailed Mission and GNC design.
A Guidance method has been developed to provide trajectory generation capability during the TAEM phase (from supersonic to subsonic flight) and during the descent phase under a parafoil, and a hybrid Navigation system making use of IMU-GNSS-FADS and altimeter measurements has been tailored. Mission and GNC performance have therefore been assessed in terms of flying qualities, trajectory, Guidance and Navigation, considering a high-fidelity simulation environment adapted to the TAEM and descent and landing scenario.
This study resulted in the design of a Mission and GNC solution for the terminal entry and descent landing phases of a return mission, consistent with the overall mission needs. Also, it allowed identifying the capabilities of the detailed design solution, and the possible limitations and improvements that are necessary to achieve a complete and robust mission and GNC design.
Thanks to the knowledge gained during the project, Elecnor Deimos is now capable of offering end-2-end Mission Engineering and autonomous GNC solutions for future European re-entry missions.