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IPPW 2022


Short Course: Introduction to Aerocapture, Entry,

Descent, and Landing (AEDL)

Short Course Preceding the IPPW 2022

August 27th and 28th

The International Planetary Probe Workshop (IPPW) Short Course will take place the weekend before the IPPW conference, August 27th and 28th, 2022 and will be at the same location as the main IPPW 2022, at the Delta Hotels Marriott, in Santa Clara, CA near NASA Ames Research Center. 


Short Course Description

Entry, descent, and landing (EDL) originated with the Apollo missions in the 1960s; science missions to Mars, Venus and Jupiter soon followed. The ability to use atmospheric drag to perform maneuvers during entry, followed by descent and a controlled touch down, requires specialized, discipline-oriented understanding of planetary atmospheres, aerodynamics, aerothermodynamics, material response, guidance, navigation and control, and other related fields. These disciplines must operate in a tightly coupled fashion to design EDL missions that safely deliver humans and cargo to planetary bodies of interest in our Solar System. Every decade we see advances across these discipline that has allowed for more and more sophisticated and daring missions.

Looking to the future, in this decade and in those to come, the planetary science missions currently in development are possible due to the depth of expertise, international collaboration, and recent technical advances in the AEDL community. Collecting and returning samples from the surface and Moons of Mars, landing a nuclear powered octocopter to explore Titan, flying new missions to Venus after a multi-decade hiatus, and potentially conducting the first in-depth exploration of the Ice Giants, are just a few examples of some of the exciting future work in store the AEDL community.

This AEDL short course is intended for students and professionals, with the goal of educating scientists, engineers, mission designers with the various AEDL disciplines and how they are applied to ensure mission success. The talks will be given by an international cohort of subject matter experts involved in numerous past, present, and future AEDL missions.


Course Content and Speakers:

(L) - Lead co-ordinator 

Topic Description and Bios



AEDL Overview will cover the scope and state of the art in aerocapture, entry, descent and landing (AEDL), past experiences, and challenges for upcoming missions.

Michelle Munk is the NASA Systems Capability Lead for Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL), supporting the Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters since 2017. In that role, she is responsible for guiding NASA’s EDL technology investments and advising senior leadership on the state of NASA’s skills, facilities, and tools to accomplish future exploration missions. Michelle has been at NASA for 34 years, working in trajectory simulation, space mission architectures, EDL technology road mapping and task management, and flight hardware development. She has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Virginia Tech and started her career as a Cooperative Education student at the Johnson Space Center. 



AEDL Trajectories:  A trajectory is the flight path taken by an entry vehicle through a planet’s atmosphere. Trajectories are at the core of Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL). In this presentation trajectories are described throughout all flight regimes from entry to landing. The effect of key design parameters such as ballistic coefficient and lift-to-drag ratio on quantities of interest such as deceleration and aeroheating are presented. Various types of aerodynamic decelerator technologies are introduced and discussed.


Juan Cruz is an aerospace engineer in the Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. His work involves entry, descent, and landing for planetary exploration missions, with a focus on aerodynamic decelerators. He has been a member of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Phoenix, Mars Science Laboratory, and Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing teams. Currently he is working on the Dragonfly mission to Titan. He has an S.B. degree from MIT and a Ph.D. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, both in aerospace engineering.



Aerodynamic Modeling:  This topic will cover how the EDL community develops aerodynamic models for the vehicles we fly and want to fly.  We will cover basic capsule aerodynamics, analysis techniques across the speed regimes, and how we provide the aerodynamics to other disciplines via aerodynamic databases.  The student should come away from this talk with a basic understanding of where and how aerodynamics fits into AEDL.


Ms. Bibb received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. She has worked at NASA Langley Research Center in the Aerothermodynamics Branch for over 30 years, focusing on hypersonic aerodynamics and unstructured mesh CFD methodologies.  She has contributed to the MPCV Aerosciences Program within the Orion Project for since 2005, initially focusing on the Crew Module hypersonic aerodynamics.  She is currently the technical lead both for the Crew Module portion of the Orion Aerodynamic Database and an NESC effort to utilize the FUN3D flow solver to include the effects of the chemically reacting plumes in the LAV abort aerodynamic database.



The lecture on “Aerothermal Environments” is split into two parts. The first part, presented by Dr. Prabhu, will focus on convective heating (primarily on the main heatshield) and address simple studies (with results) that are suitable for conceptual designs of atmospheric entry vehicles. The second part, presented by Dr. Cruden, will focus on radiative heating and address both experimental and theoretical aspects of the problem.


Dinesh K. Prabhu is a Senior Staff Scientist with AMA, Inc., an onsite contractor at NASA Ames Research Center. He received his B.Tech. in Aeronautical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology at Madras, India, and his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the Iowa State University at Ames, Iowa. His interests are in modeling and simulation of high-temperature hypersonic flow fields (for ground testing and flight), and in aerothermodynamic design of ground tests and atmospheric entry vehicles. With over more than three decades of experience in the field, Dr. Prabhu has contributed to numerous spaceflight projects & proposals including the Space Shuttle Orbiter, X-33, X-37, In-Space Propulsion, Orion, MSL, Mars2020, Commercial Crew, Venus SAGE, Neptune Odyssey, Uranus Orbiter & Probe.  His current interests are in atmospheric entry imaging (Hayabusa2), Sample Return Lander (MSR), and Reaction Control Systems (Boeing CST-100 and SRL).


Dr. Brett A. Cruden is a senior research scientist and branch technical lead with AMA Incorporated, in NASA Ames' Aerothermodynamics Branch (Entry Systems Division).  For the past decade, has been the principal investigator for the electric arc shock tube facility (EAST), which focuses on measuring radiative heating and reaction kinetics for planetary entry.  He is also a co-developer of the NEQAIR code, which was the 2015 NASA Software of the Year.  He is a recipient of NASA's Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award and an Associate Fellow of the AIAA.  He received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.  He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications and 100 conference presentations on plasma characterization, nanomaterials and aerothermodynamics.



GN&C for Aerocapture and EDL: The talk will look at a survey of various Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) strategies used for EDL and aerocapture applications. Focus will be on specific implementations for planetary missions with some discussion of potential future strategies.


Soumyo Dutta is an Aerospace Engineer in the Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch at NASA Langley Research Center. His current research focus is flight mechanics simulation and modeling of planetary entry systems. He has worked on several Earth technology missions, such as LDSD, ASPIRE, and ADEPT SR-1, as well as supported planetary missions such as Phoenix, MSL, and was on the operations team for Mars 2020. He is currently working on DAVINCI, Mars Sample Return Lander, and few other planetary mission proposals. Soumyo has a Ph.D. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.



State of the Art Thermal Protection System (SOA TPS):  ):  Capable Thermal Protection Systems (TPS) are critical for enabling future missions involving high-speed atmospheric flight where the entries usually include descending into the atmosphere followed by a trajectory that aims to burn off energy and result in a controlled landing. Each agency has mature TPS materials and is continuing to innovate and develop materials to meet future mission needs. This talk will cover ESA, JAXA and NASA new aeroshell development effort for planetary probes.


Dr. Mairead Stackpoole is the Branch Chief of the Thermal Protection Materials Branch at NASA Ames Research Center and has been at Ames since 2000. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Materials Science and Engineering. Mairead has supported many TPS advancement programs at NASA including the TPS Development lead for the HEEET Woven TPS materials development project and the project manager for PICA sustainability tasks. She has supported TPS activities for various NASA programs including OSIRIS Rex and Stardust.


Thierry Pichon is the Director of Launcher Equipment Programs, within Ariane Group's Products, Equipment & Services business line. He has an Engineering Degree in Mechanical Engineering obtained in 1988 from ENSAM and a Master’s in aerospace engineering obtained in 1989 from ENSAE (now ISAE). Thierry has been involved since 1990 in various CMC (Ceramic Matrix Composites) programs including the TPS of Hermes, composite nozzle extensions, IXV European atmospheric reentry demonstrator, and other ESA and NASA R&T activities. He leads the team that is involved in the design and production of heatshields and thermal protections within Ariane Group.


Dr. Kazuhiko Yamada is an associate professor at Department of Space Flight Systems, Institute of Space and Astronautical Science, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency since 2017.  He received his Ph.D. from The University of Tokyo in Engineering in 2004.  He worked with the scientific balloon center in JAXA from 2004 and worked in Department of Space Flight Systems from 2007.  His research topics are various re-entry technology, from conventional sample return capsules to innovative inflatable decelerators.


Materials Response Modeling:  An overview of the state-of-the art in TPS material modeling and simulation is presented. First, the relevant physics and governing equations are presented. Then, some of the prominent codes in use within the community are discussed. Finally, some of the current cutting-edge research topics in the field are highlighted.


Dr. Eric Stern is a research engineer in the Thermal Protection Materials branch at NASA Ames Research Center.  He has been working for NASA since 2015. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Eric is the Entry Modeling lead for the NASA Planetary Defense Coordination Office’s Asteroid Threat Assessment Project, as well as the technical lead for development of the Icarus material response solver. In addition, he is the TPS modeling lead for Dragonfly.



High Enthalpy Testing:          Will be updated soon


Dr. Brett Cruden is a senior research scientist and branch technical lead with AMA Incorporated, in NASA Ames' Aerothermodynamics Branch (Entry Systems Division).  For the past decade, has been the principal investigator for the electric arc shock tube facility (EAST), which focuses on measuring radiative heating and reaction kinetics for planetary entry.  He is also a co-developer of the NEQAIR code, which was the 2015 NASA Software of the Year.  He is a recipient of NASA's Exceptional Engineering Achievement Award and an Associate Fellow of the AIAA.  He received a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a B.S. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.  He has over 50 peer-reviewed publications and 100 conference presentations on plasma characterization, nanomaterials and aerothermodynamics.


Ernest F. Fretter is the Arc Jet Business Development manager in the Thermophysics Facilities Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. He received a BS and MS from University of California, Berkeley and filled his military commitment as a research officer in Electro-fluidynamics Direct Energy Conversion at the Air Force’s Aerospace Research Laboratory, Wright Patterson AFM, Ohio.  Returning to California, he because the arc jet facilities manager, test engineer, and business development manager for Pacific Rim Operations, Acurex Corporation, Aerotherm Division.  Mr. Fretter went on his own to become a private consultant to the Centro Italiano Ricerche Aerospaziali (C.I.R.A.) in Capua, Italy advising them on the shakedown, operation, and future projects of the 70-MW Scirocco Plasma Wind Tunnel.  In 2001, he finally returned to the Bay Area and NASA to become the Arc Jet Facility Manager and then the arc jet business development lead interfacing with customers, potential customers, and the aerospace community.




Low Enthalpy - Hypersonic Wind Tunnel – Testing:   An overview of hypersonic wind tunnel testing for EDL projects, including what types of facilities and test techniques are available in the US, and a summary of recent results from NASA test programs.


Dr. Brain Hollis is a senior researcher in the Aerothermodynamics Branch of the NASA Langley Research Center where he is the lead for the branch’s Planetary Entry Systems and Experimental Discipline Teams.   He is currently the Aerothermodynamics lead for NASA’s LOFTID mission.

Mark Schoenberger:              Will be updated soon


Matt Rhode:                           Will be updated soon



CFD 101 Description:  This talk will cover fundamentals of computational fluid dynamics and structured grid generation best practices for aerothermodynamic simulations.


Adam Wise has been working on the CFD Applications team in the Aerothermodynamics Branch at NASA Langley since 2008. He earned a Bachelor and a Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering from the Ohio State University. Adam has worked on many projects and teams, including the Space Shuttle Orbiter Entry Aeroheating Team, IRVE-3, Mars2020, and, most recently, LOFTID. He currently leads the grid generation team within his branch at LaRC.


Dr. Kyle Thompson is a research scientist within the Aerothermodynamics Branch at NASA Langley Research Center. Dr. Thompson develops and maintains the LAURA CFD code, and his research focuses on novel and robust techniques for simulating hypersonic flows encountered in NASA Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) applications.



The Entry Systems Modeling (ESM) is aimed at addressing complex inter-disciplinary Entry, Descent and Landing mission relevant problems through modeling and simulation. The core project covers a) detailed material response modeling of TPS, b) Guidance, Navigation and Control, c), Aerosciences (including parachutes, aerodynamics and material roughness augmented heating etc.) and d) Shock layer kinetics and radiation. This presentation will provide an overview of ongoing research and relevance to mission design.


Dr. Brandis is a senior research scientist in the Aerothermodynamics branch at NASA Ames Research Center, California. He is the PI for NASA’s Entry Systems Modeling project, Dragonfly aerothermal lead and Investigation Lead for Dragonfly’s Titan entry instrumentation, known as DrEAM. His research focuses on shock layer radiation with the NEQAIR code and EAST shock tube facility.



Computational Materials:  Computational materials science encompasses modeling and simulation techniques that are used to improve our understanding of materials from the atomic to macroscopic scales. This talk will focus on recent applications of computational materials science to ablative thermal protection materials, including heritage PICA and state-of-the-art woven materials like HEEET. Development of advanced molecular, microscopic, and mesoscopic models will be discussed. 


Lauren Abbott  is a computational materials scientist in the Thermal Protection Materials Branch at NASA Ames Research Center. She is a member of the computational materials group, which develops and applies computational modeling and simulation approaches to aid analysis and design of advanced materials for aerospace applications. She has contributed to several materials development projects at NASA and is currently leading multi-scale modeling efforts for woven thermal protection materials under the Entry Systems Modeling project.


Propulsive Descent Technologies will discuss the relevant physics and current state-of-the-art for the EDL applications of retro-propulsion for descent and landing.


Dr. Ashley Korzun is an aerospace engineer at NASA Langley Research Center.  Her specialization is in entry, descent, and landing aerosciences and systems, with an emphasis on technology development for propulsive descent and landing. Her work includes applied high-fidelity computational fluid dynamics, blunt body aerodynamics, ground testing, and flight project support.  She is currently the Principal Investigator for NASA’s Plume-Surface Interaction Project and the Aerodynamics Database Lead for LOFTID, previously serving as Aerodynamics Lead for InSight.  She holds a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Maryland and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech.


SCIFLI: The Scientifically Calibrated In-Flight Imagery (SCIFLI) team is a multi-organizational team comprised of engineers, scientists and subject matter experts with a proven track record of delivering flight-truth datasets for Agency, commercial, DoD, and international customers. The SCIFLI team embodies NASA’s Agency-level capability for acquisition of unique engineering data of spacecraft and spacecraft systems in actual flight environments, which support verification of engineering design tools, vehicle health monitoring analyses, and validation and certification of both uncrewed and human-rated spacecraft.


Dr. Jennifer Inman currently serves as Project Manager for the SCIFLI team in the Space Technology and Exploration Directorate (STED) at NASA LaRC. In this role, she leads a diverse group of researchers and subject matter experts in acquiring remote engineering flight data from vehicles during spaceflight operations and flight tests to provide the Agency with data-based verification of vehicle design, health, and performance, and to validate ground tests and computational modeling tools. She started at NASA as a graduate student and conducted research in support of the Space Shuttle Return to Flight. For most of her career, she has been part of a research team applying non-intrusive laser-based methods to study hypersonic flow phenomena in NASA wind tunnels. She received her B.S. (2000), M.S. (2003), and Ph.D. (2007) in physics from The College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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