Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Dr. Bogdan Udrea

Committee Member

Dr. Hamilton Hagar

Committee Member

Dr. Eric Perrell


With any space related mission, the unknown effects are often some of the most important design considerations. These effects must be accounted for in some fashion, and often lead to mission elements being centered around gathering information on the unknown.

It is the purpose of this research to develop and test a tool for simulation of entry, descent, and landing, (EDL) and to present a brief analysis of possible dispersion patterns related to autonomous radiosonde deployment on the surface of Mars.

The EDL simulation tool is written in Matlab. The aerodynamic information used by the tool is obtained with the use of HEAT/TK. HEAT/TK is an aerodynamic coefficient solver written by The Boeing Company, and distributed by the US Air Force. The simulation tool is validated against data from the mission planning analysis for Mars Exploration Rovers, as well as telemetry data from the MERs. The results compare favorably with most results being within 7% of the published results.

The radiosonde mission is designed to use the MER EDL system. The mission deploys six radiosondes, contained within pods, when the EDL system reaches a specified velocity. Dispersion patterns for the radiosondes follow the expected general trends established by the EDL Monte Carlo analysis.