content 24-January-2019 13:33:18

EDM Landing System Tests

Crushable material samples before and after testing. Credit: SENER

Following the shutdown of the propulsion system at a nominal altitude of 1.5 metres, the EDM surface platform will land at a maximum velocity of about 4 metres per second. In order to reduce the shock of the impact on the surface, a layer of crushable material will be installed below the EDM. This is a novel feature for a Mars lander and it was selected for its simplicity, reduced volume, and low cost.

Crushing tests on samples were carried out to examine the mechanical properties of the material. Several models of the crushable material, integrated to a full-scale model of the EDM surface platform, were then tested to study the performance of the landing system in representative Martian conditions.

The surface platform model, that was used for these tests, has the same structural properties as the flight model, weighs 245 kg, and includes mock-ups of all the equipment that the EDM platform will carry on the Red Planet. The model is equipped with several sensors that measure the landing impact on each side of the platform as well as a number of cameras that record the movement of the platform during the landing.

The tests validated the software simulations, assessed the performance of the landing system in simulated Martian pressure conditions (about 200 times lower than the pressure on Earth), and verified the capability of the crushable material to reduce the landing shock so that the science payload remains intact.

Full-scale model of the ExoMars Entry, Descent and Landing Demonstrator Module surface platform during the first drop test on a representative Mars-like terrain.
Click here for more information on this video  Credit: SENER

The series of full-scale tests started in January 2012 at the Aeronautical Technologies Centre (CTA) in Vitoria, Spain, and additional tests will further study the capability of the landing system to land safely on a wide range of terrain that may be encountered by the EDM (slopes up to 19 degrees and rocks of various shapes, up to 38 centimetres in height, and horizontal velocity up to 2 m/s).

The landing system tests are performed by SENER, led by Thales Alenia Space - Italy, under the close supervision of ESA.

Last Update: 11 October 2016

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