Tech Talk - Aerocapture: Atmospheric Surfing for Planetary Orbit Insertion

When:  Apr 6, 2023 from 11:00 to 12:30 (ET)
Associated with  Hampton Roads Section

AIAA Hampton Roads Section & NASA LaRC
2022-2023 Pizza Lecture Series

Aerocapture: Atmospheric Surfing for Planetary Orbit Insertion

Dr. Rohan Deshmukh

DATE & TIME: April 6th, 2023
Pizza at 11:00 am
Talk from 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Request pizza by April 5th, 3:30 pm –
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Our AV system has had some failures so attending the event in person is highly encouraged.
Virtual via AIAA Zoom – Zoom Registration

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Planetary orbit insertion can be an engineering challenge for mass-constrained missions. For destinations with an atmosphere, utilizing the atmosphere to rapidly slow and capture into orbit can be a potentially fuel and time saving methodology. NASA has conducted skip entry trajectories (dipping into the atmosphere and skipping back out to extend entry range) for several missions including the recent Artemis 1 flight; however, orbit insertion has never been completed after skip entry. Despite no flight heritage, literature studies and recent proposals have included aerocapture in their respective mission concepts. As NASA aims to incorporate more small satellites into interplanetary missions and place orbiters around the Ice Giants, aerocapture is needed more than ever. This presentation will provide a high-level overview of aerocapture and some of the on-going work within NASA’s LaRC Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch on Small Satellites and Ice Giant aerocapture.


Dr. Rohan Deshmukh is an Aerospace Engineer in the Atmospheric Flight and Entry Systems Branch at NASA Langley Research Center with Analytical Mechanics Associates. He is currently supporting the Earth Entry System component of Mars Sample Return, aerobraking campaign for Venus Emissivity, Radio science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy (VERITAS), and NASA Early Career Initiative investigating aerocapture system as an enabling technology for Ice Giant Mission. He also served as the flight mechanics lead for the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator (LOFTID). His research interests include guidance, navigation, and control of planetary entry vehicles, mission design, and systems engineering. He has a PhD and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Purdue University and a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology.


NASA Langley Research Center - NACA Room
Integrated Services Building, B2102
Hampton, VA 23681
Online Instructions:
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Matthew Galles
(757) 864-7911