Planetary Exploration technology
For the planetary exploration mission in the future, our laboratory research and develop
the aeroassisted orbital transfer vehicle which can change its orbit using atmosphere of planet
and flying rover in planetary atmosphere which can explore in wide area.

ƒAerocapture / Aerobraking „

Aerocapture and aerobraking is technique to make use of the atmosphere of the planet for the orbital transfer.
These techniques saves fuel, compared to the direct use of a rocket engine and it is necessary for the planetary
exploration mission in the future.

ISAS including our laboratory have researched the fundamental research about the aerocapture and aerobraking.
For example, the world first demonstration of the aerobraking was carried out with "HITEN" in 1990.

If these techniques can be used for actual mission, a low-cost planetary exploration mission with a small and
light space craft will be possible.


The world's first space craft demonstrating the aerobraking: "HITEN"


Image of aerocapturing space craft

ƒWinged Rover for planetary exploration„

Planetary exploration mission will be promoted to Venus, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn.
The development of the exploration probe for the planet with atmosphere, for example, Venus and Mars is discussed.
Our laboratory research and develop the small winged flying rover in the atmosphere of the planet for wide area exploration.

Image of the helicopter-type flying rover in the Mars's atmosphere
(figure of rover on the ground obtained from NASA web site)

ƒPlasma Actuator„

Recently, using DBD plasma has attracted much attention as the innovative flow control method.
In our laboratory, the various researches on the plasma actuator which make use of the DBD plasma
for the control device of the flying vehicle is carried out from primary physics of DBD plasma to
application to the planetary flying rover.

Flow visulazation around the 2-D wing with plasuma actuator