24/7 Space News
Historic NASA wind tunnel testing Mars Ascent Vehicle
A scale model of the Mars Ascent Vehicle is loaded by Wind Tunnel Test Engineer Sam Schmitz into the trisonic wind tunnel at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center for testing. The 14-by-14-inch tunnel has been used to test launch vehicle configurations for Artemis, Redstone, Jupiter-C, Saturn, and more.
Historic NASA wind tunnel testing Mars Ascent Vehicle
by Jessica Barnett
Huntsville AL (SPX) Sep 26, 2023

The MAV (Mars Ascent Vehicle) team recently completed wind tunnel testing at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in a facility that has been a critical part of NASA missions going all the way back to the Apollo program.

The same facility that provided valuable testing for NASA missions to low-Earth orbit and the Moon is now helping the agency prepare to launch the first rocket from Mars. The MAV is an important part of the joint plan between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) to bring scientifically selected Martian samples to Earth in the early 2030s.

The testing took place July 10 -15 and allowed the team to gather aeroacoustic data to help them understand the dynamics of MAV's design using 3D-printed scale models.

"With these successful tests, we are improving our understanding of MAV aerodynamics, integrated performance, controllability, and vehicle loading," said MAV Project Manager Steve Gaddis. "We will use the results to inform our design and make any needed improvements for the robust MAV needed to deliver Martian rock samples to orbit."

The test section of Marshall's wind tunnel is only 24 inches long and 14 inches in height and width. However, it can achieve supersonic speeds of up to Mach 5 (about 3,800 mph) and has a long history of testing iconic rockets, including Redstone, Jupiter-C, and Saturn, as well as Space Shuttle and SLS (Space Launch System) designs.

MAV aeroacoustics lead Annie Catherine Barnes, who served as co-lead for the July testing campaign, said the team tested scale models at multiple angles inside the wind tunnel to see how air flow might affect MAV's structure. Barnes compared it to turbulence on an airplane.

"We're looking for areas of turbulent flow for launch vehicles," she said. "We're looking for shock oscillations and large areas of pressure fluctuation that can cause a structural response."

The team will use data from the July testing campaign and other analyses to form a better estimate of the environments MAV would face as it becomes the first vehicle to launch from the surface of another planet.

MAV supports the planned Mars Sample Return campaign, which would bring scientifically selected samples to Earth for study using the most sophisticated instrumentation around the world. This strategic partnership with ESA is developing the technology and the preliminary designs for missions that would accomplish the first return samples from another planet. The samples currently being collected by NASA's Perseverance rover during its exploration of an ancient river delta have the potential to reveal the early evolution of Mars, including the potential for ancient microbial life.

Managed at Marshall, the MAV would launch aboard the Sample Retrieval Lander from Earth for a two-year journey to Mars. It would remain on the surface of Mars for nearly a year of receiving the samples collected by Perseverance.

After the Sample Transfer Arm on the lander loads the samples into a container in the rocket, MAV would launch from Mars into orbit around the planet, releasing the sample container for the ESA-developed Earth Return Orbiter to capture.

The samples are targeted to arrive on Earth in the early 2030s. The Mars Sample Return Program is managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Video: Historic Wind Tunnel Facility Testing NASA's Mars Ascent Vehicle Rocket

Related Links
Mars Ascent Vehicle
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
Third Subscale Booster for future Artemis missions fires up at Marshall
Huntsville AL (SPX) Sep 23, 2023
Engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, conducted a hot fire of a 24-inch subscale solid rocket motor Sept. 14. The test, conducted in Marshall's East Test Area, produced more than 82,000 pounds of thrust and was part of an ongoing series of developmental tests for an upgraded booster design for future configurations of NASA's SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. Beginning with Artemis IX, the SLS rocket in its Block 2 configuration will use the BOLE (booster obsolesc ... read more

ISS National Lab and Privateer announce Data and Information Sharing Partnership

NASA astronaut Frank Rubio returning to Earth after record 371 days in space

Two Russians, American land back on Earth after ISS mission: Moscow

Chinese universities climb up leading global ranking

All engines added to NASA's Artemis II core stage

Historic NASA wind tunnel testing Mars Ascent Vehicle

Blue Origin to remain grounded for now following crash probe

Third Subscale Booster for future Artemis missions fires up at Marshall

Did life exist on Mars? Other planets? With AI's help, we may know soon

Big Fan of Rock Bands: Sols 3960-3961

Curiosity the Cautious Rover: Sols 3957-3959

Curiosity Needs an Altitude Adjustment: Sols 3955-3956

Astronauts honored for contributions to China's space program

China capable of protecting astronauts from effects of space weightlessness

Tianzhou 5 spacecraft burns up on Earth reentry

Crew of Shenzhou XV mission honored for six-month space odyssey

Sierra Space increases total investment to $1.7B with $290M Series B Funding

Arlington Capital Partners to acquire Exostar from Thoma Bravo

Intelsat expands Brazil infrastructure, delivers new services

Eutelsat investors approve OneWeb merger for satellite internet

China builds first antenna for world's largest radio telescope array

Zenno and D-to develop superconducting electromagnets

Hit soccer video game adds mixed-gender teams, sheds FIFA name

Mineral-hungry clean tech sees countries seeking to escape China's shadow

Turning up gravity for space fungi study

Study sheds new light on strange lava worlds

JWST's first spectrum of a TRAPPIST-1 planet

New insights into the atmosphere and star of an exoplanet

Plot thickens in the hunt for a ninth planet

Webb finds carbon source on surface of Jupiter's moon Europa

Hidden ocean the source of CO2 on Jupiter moon

Juice: why's it taking sooo long

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.