Thermal Modeling of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 's Solar Panel and Instruments During Aerobraking 2007-01-3244
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) launched on August 12, 2005 and started aerobraking at Mars in March 2006. During the spacecraft's design phase, thermal models of the solar panels and instruments were developed to determine which components would be the most limiting thermally during aerobraking. Having determined the most limiting components, (from a temperature limit standpoint), thermal limits in terms of heat rate were established. Advanced thermal modeling techniques were developed utilizing Thermal Desktop and Patran Thermal. Heat transfer coefficients were calculated using a Direct Simulation Monte Carlo technique. Analysis established that the solar panels were the most limiting components during the aerobraking phase of the mission.