January 1, 2016.
Preliminary Research AerodyNamic Design To Land on Mars (PRANDTL-M) is a glider with a two-foot wingspan, weighing less than twelve ounces. This lightweight efficient design gives a higher glide range, and makes it significantly less expensive to launch than conventional aircraft. The PRANDTL-M glider is being tested, redesigned, and is having scientific testing equipment installed. The added weight of the instruments compared to the original design of the vehicle led to a change in its moment of inertia, which caused instability. Several flight tests, in which the glider or its components were launched and analyzed, were conducted with variations on the dihedral and sweep angles to determine the best combination for a stable flight, as well as to ensure the functionality of the scientific equipment installed. The operations engineering position for this project focused on managing flight tests, being responsible for configuration control, and overseeing safety protocols while conducting tests. The success of this aircraft and its mission would greatly improve current knowledge about the Martian environment.
NASA Armstrong (Formerly Dryden) Flight Research Center
*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under grant# 1546150. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program.