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Journey to Mars Mathematics Project - Moon Landing 

12-02-2020 15:08:39

A privately-funded TeamIndus spacecraft is scheduled for a soft Moon landing in 2020. Unlike previous Moon landings, the TeamIndus spacecraft will have a fixed thrust propulsion system instead of a propulsion system with variable thrust that can be controlled with a throttle. With the fixed thrust propulsion system, velocity is controlled with on/off engine bursts instead of varying the propulsion.The velocity of the spacecraft will be reduced for landing in different stages beginning with the braking stage. The critical part of the landing occurs 1.5 m above the surface when the engine is cut off so that rocket exhaust will not hit the surface causing hot gases and dust and surface materials to damage the landing module and critical components such as solar panels and sensors. (The Apollo Lunar Module preceded landing with an engine cut-off at 1.3 m above the surface.) At about 1 m above the lunar surface, the spacecraft is in freefall. At the end of the landing procedure, the spacecraft behaves like a dropped object for the last 1 m of descent. Given that the spacecraft basically drops onto the Moon, it is essential to understand the gravitational forces that apply.


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