Orion entry flight control stability and performance

Alan L. Strahan, Greg R. Loe, Pete J. Seiler

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations


The Orion Spacecraft will be required to perform entry and landing functions for both Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Lunar return missions, utilizing only the Command Module (CM) with its unique systems and GN&C design. This paper presents the current CM Flight Control System (FCS) designed to support entry and landing, with a focus on analyses that have supported its development. After Service Module (SM) separation, the CM FCS will provide spacecraft stability and control while following guidance or manual commands during exo-atmospheric flight, translational powered flight required of the CM, atmospheric flight supporting both direct entry and skip trajectories down to drogue chute deployment, and during roll attitude reorientation just prior to touchdown. Various studies and analyses have been performed or are on-going that support an overall FCS design with reasonably sized Reaction Control System (RCS) jets, minimal fuel usage, and appropriate commandfollowing with reasonable stability and control margin. Results from these efforts are included, with particular attention to design issues that have emerged, such as the struggle for sub-sonic pitch and yaw control without using excessively large jets that could have a detrimental impact on vehicle weight. Apollo, with a similar shape, struggled with this issue as well. CM FCS design and analysis planned for the future are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2007
Number of pages15
StatePublished - Dec 24 2007
EventAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2007 - Hilton Head, SC, United States
Duration: Aug 20 2007Aug 23 2007

Publication series

NameCollection of Technical Papers - AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2007


OtherAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2007
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityHilton Head, SC


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