With the current emphasis on planetary missions, the pace at which missions are designed is becoming more rapid. New frontiers have been reached on Mars and Venus, and now Titan with the successful Cassini-Huygens. This paper deals with one aspect in particular: the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) phase. Despite the development of new technologies, the EDL is still referred as the "6 minutes from Hell", a delicate operation where nothing can be taken for granted. EDL systems design is a highly specialised and diverse engineering problem including aerodynamics, thermodynamics and mechanics to name just a few. Assessment of these technologies requires a number of specialists, which makes systems validation difficult. We are currently developing SPADEs, a software tool that can evaluate potential EDL systems designs quickly and efficiently by non-specialist systems engineers. SPADEs encapsulates the expert knowledge required to develop the major EDL sub-systems from heatshield design, to parachutes, as well as providing the unique capability of evaluating .landing hazards and the depth of impact for penetrator missions. By empowering systems engineers with these new capabilities, the mission design team will be able to deliver quickly new preliminary probe designs and detailed performances that will facilitate early decision making of future planetary programs.

International Astronautical Federation - 56th International Astronautical Congress 2005
Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Allouis, E. (E.), Ellery, A, & Sweeting, M. (M.). (2005). Planetary exploration: SPADEs a new integrated entry systems design tool. In International Astronautical Federation - 56th International Astronautical Congress 2005 (pp. 4934–4944).