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Conceptual design & experimental validation of Mars helicopter

Wilpshaar, Martijn (2019) Conceptual design & experimental validation of Mars helicopter.

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Abstract:The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) is planning a mission to Mars where a helicopter will be used to do research in caves and pit craters. The caves are interesting because of the higher possibility of finding life. The temperature is moderate and steady and there is less radiation compared to Mars' surface. The pit craters are interesting because these show the geological history of Mars. In this report, the feasibility of completing these missions with a helicopter is questioned. To answer this question, a conceptual design program has been programmed. This program computes the optimal blade pitch and chord distribution and computes the mass decomposition and maximum flight time. The input values and used equipment of this conceptual design program follow from previous research performed by JAXA. To compute the thrust and power, the Blade Element Momentum Theory is applied with 3D corrections. The final designed helicopter has a total mass of about 8kg and a maximum flight time of about 2200s, giving it enough time to complete the proposed missions. The use of the Blade Element Momentum Theory is validated for the low Reynolds number regime using hovering experiments in a vacuum tank. This has been done for two airfoils (flat plate\& thin angular airfoil) and the results confirm the validity of the theory. However, for pitch angles larger than 20deg, the theoretic and experimental results differ which is caused by stall of the blades that is not taken into account in the theory.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Sagamihara, Japan
Faculty:ET: Engineering Technology
Subject:52 mechanical engineering
Programme:Mechanical Engineering MSc (60439)
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