Design and development of an aerobraking trajectory simulation tool

Giusy Falcone, Zachary R. Putnam

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Aerobraking Trajectory Simulator is a Python-based modeling and simulation tool developed to assess flight performance for the aerobraking mission set. The tool is open-source for the benefit of the entire aerospace community. The simulator can be used to model an entire aerobraking campaign, a single orbit, or a single atmospheric passage around Earth, Mars, and Venus, while providing estimates of important flight performance parameters, including dynamic pressure, heat rate, and energy depletion rate. The computational efficiency of the tool also enables uncertainty analysis through Monte Carlo techniques. The built-in modularity of the tool enables selection of physical models from a range of built-in options, including a method to efficiently incorporate complex atmospheric models, such as Mars-GRAM 2010. The development of the simulation is discussed including modeling assumptions. Example trajectory analyses are presented to illustrate the effectiveness of the tool, including, an Odysseylike mission with and without the use of trajectory control and a blunted-cone ballistic flight.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2021 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781624106095
StatePublished - 2021
EventAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Jan 11 2021Jan 15 2021

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2021 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Science and Technology Forum and Exposition, AIAA SciTech Forum 2021
CityVirtual, Online

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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