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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2014/39009

Title: Critical Spacecraft-to-Earth Communications for Mars Exploration Rover (MER) entry, descent and landing
Authors: Hurd, William J.
Estabrook, Polly
Racho, Caroline S.
Satorius, Edgar H.
Keywords: Mars entry, descent, and landing (EDL)
Mars Communications
entry, descent, and landing communications
high dynamics tracking
Issue Date: 9-Mar-2002
Publisher: Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2002.
Citation: IEEE Aerospace Conference, Big Sky, Montana, March 9-16, 2002.
Abstract: For planetary lander missions, the most challenging phase of the spacecraft to ground communications is during the entry, descent, and landing (EDL). As each 2003 Mars Exploration Rover (MER) enters the Martian atmosphere, it slows dramatically. The extreme acceleration and jerk cause extreme Doppler dynamics on the X-band signal received on Earth. When the vehicle slows sufficiently, the parachute is deployed, causing almost a step in deceleration. After parachute deployment, the lander is lowered beneath the parachute on a bridle. The swinging motion of the lander imparts high Doppler dynamics on the signal and causes the received signal strength to vary widely, due to changing antenna pointing angles. All this time, the vehicle transmits important health and status information that is especially critical if the landing is not successful. Even using the largest Deep Space Network antennas, the weak signal and high dynamics render it impossible to conduct reliable phase coherent communications. Therefore, a specialized form of frequency-shift-keying will be used. This paper describes the EDL scenario, the signal conditions, the methods used to detect and frequency-track the carrier and to detect the data modulation, and the resulting performance estimates.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2014/39009
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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