Hypersonic ReEntry Deployable Glider Experiment (HEDGE); Intelligent Systems in Mars Exploration

Akinbi, Temidayo, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Earle, Joshua, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Goyne, Chris, EN-Mech & Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia

Hypersonic technology (systems traveling at speeds significantly greater than Mach 5) is increasingly being invested in by the US government and private sector. (Cooper, 2022) This field of research and development has both civilian and military applications, with military applications being a short term goal. For the military, hypersonic weapons have a unique combination of speed and maneuverability that make them difficult to defend against. On the civilian side, applications include advanced, high-speed air travel and space exploration. A CubeSat, a small satellite that can be launched relatively inexpensively and designed with many commercial off the shelf parts, can be
used for undergraduate education. This team of undergraduates will use a CubeSat to perform a hypersonic glider flight experiment. By using a CubeSat, university students can conduct these experiments at a lower cost, and with greater accessibility than traditional means. This technical report will explore the radio communication requirements for the ground and space segments of the HEDGE CubeSat.
A significant shift in the role of Earth-based mission control is occurring, transitioning from direct command like, HEDGE radio comms, to a more supportive role. More decisions will need to be made by astronauts without the assistance of Earth, yet we don't want to leave them completely defenseless. This research aims to understand the socio-technical implications of intelligent systems in the context of Mars missions, exploring how these systems can supplement the lost assistance caused by communication delays. These technologies may be able to support astronauts more than Earth-based mission control given adequate funding and development. This STS paper will discuss the various types of intelligent systems, their applications on Mars, and future work that will be necessary to send these systems to Mars. Additionally, it will address the following research question: “ To what extent are intelligent systems catalyzing a paradigm shift in communication strategies and protocols for interplanetary missions, and how are these shifts enhancing human space exploration and the public perception of remote, autonomous communication systems?”

BS (Bachelor of Science)
Mars, Hypersonic, Intelligent, Systems, Cubesat, Satellite
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