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**assessment of a vented airbag
**

landing system for the ExoMars

space mission

Vassili Toropov

Professor of Aerospace and Structural Engineering

Principal Design Optimization Specialist, Altair Engineering (until 2006)

**ExoMars Space Mission
**

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

**ESA Aurora exploration
**

programme

240kg mobile robotic exobiology laboratory

To search for extinct or extant

microbial life on Mars

Supporting geology and

meteorology experiments

Launch by Ariane 5 or Soyuz

in 2013

Currently in Phase B – mission

planning and concept design

phase

**Airbags for Space Landers
**

▲

**Un-vented type
**

(inflatable ball)

• Multiple bounces

• Established

heritage (from

Luna-9 in 1966)

• High mass

• Vulnerable to

rupture

Mars Pathfinder NASA/JPL

Luna 9 USSR Space Program

Beagle 2 Beagle2

**Airbags for Space Landers
**

▲

Vented type

• Active control

• Single stroke

• No space heritage

• Low mass

• Vulnerable to

over-turning

Kistler Booster Irvin

ExoMars ESA

**Airbag Landing Design Concept
**

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

**Design concept considers
**

vented (or “Dead-Beat”)

airbag coming to rest on

second bounce

Inflated with N2 during

descent under main

parachute

Stowed rover mounted to

platform

Vent patches activated by

pyrotechnic cutters

Simple reactive vent control

system: simultaneous allvent trigger at 65g

Airbag Configuration

▲

Six identical vented chambers

▲

One “anti-bottoming” un-vented toroidal

Study Objectives

▲

▲

**Develop methodology for optimisation and
**

probabilistic reliability assessment of vented

airbags

Key questions for ExoMars:

1. What is the mass of an optimized vented

airbag?

2. What is the probability of a successful landing?

3. What is the sensitivity of landing reliability to

changing landing scenarios?

**Optimization and reliability
**

assessment of ExoMars lander

Failure modes:

• Roll-over (payload overturns),

• Dive-through (payload impacts rock)

• Rupture (fabric tears)

Full-scale terrestrial testing is difficult / expensive

Analysis Overview

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

Explicit FE analysis of

100ms + impact 10 CPU

hours +

Metamodelling approach

Metamodels built by MLSM

Same approach for

optimization and reliability

analyses

Optimization variables

• Airbag size, pressure, vent

areas

▲

Reliability variables

• Wind speed, rock size, pitch

attitude & rate

OPTIMISATION

ROBUSTNESS

Design

Variables

External

Variables

DoE

DoE

FE Analysis

FE Analysis

Surrogate

Response

Surfaces

Surrogate

Response

Surfaces

Optimisation

Monte Carlo

Simulations

Optimum

Design

Reliability

**Finite Element Modelling
**

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

HyperMesh / LS-DYNA

Rigid rover & platform

Silicone-coated Vectran airbag

fabric

N2 gas

Simulation Stages

1. Inflation

2. Initial Impact (65g vent trigger

filtering)

3. Venting

Vent Triggering

▲

▲

▲

▲

**65g acceleration threshold
**

Measured at payload CoM

Signal noise premature venting

Crude filter = cumulative time above threshold

0.0303s

65.7g

0.0302s

65.3g

Trigger O ccurs at 0.0304s

0.0304s

65.7g

Software Tools

▲

LS-DYNA

**• Dynamic Relaxation (steady-state free fall condition)
**

• Airbag functionality (Wang Nefske inflation model)

• Advanced contact (internal fabric contact etc.)

▲

HyperMesh

**• Advanced LS-DYNA model building support
**

• Comprehensive interface

▲

HyperView

**• Time dependent LS-DYNA animations
**

• Multi results type environment (animations, X-Y data)

▲

HyperMorph

• Airbag parameterisation

• Rock height, pitch angle variation in reliability assessment

▲

HyperStudy

**• Airbag size optimisation
**

• Reliability assessment

**Mars Environment and
**

Landing Scenarios

Mars Environment

• Gravity 3.7 m/s2 = 0.38g

• Pressure 440Pa = 0.4% of Earth air pressure at sea level

= at 36.5 km altitude on Earth

• Temperature 187K = - 86º C

Landing Scenarios

• Flat Bottom Landing

• Inclined Rock Impact

Landing Scenarios

Landing scenarios are chosen to give conflicting design

requirements

Flat Bottom Landing

Inclined Rock Impact

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

•

**Vertical velocity 25m/s
**

Favours ‘tall’ airbag designs

Favours ‘narrow’ airbag designs

Tall, narrow airbag makes most

effective vertical energy absorber

**Vertical velocity 25m/s
**

Lateral wind velocity 16.3m/s

Favours ‘wide’ airbag designs

Wide airbag makes most effective

rock intrusion absorber

**Baseline Response: Flat Bottom Landing
**

• Peak filtered deceleration 66g (Target <70g)

• Peak airbag material stresses 135MPa (Target <533MPa)

• Constraints satisfied by baseline design

**Baseline Response: Inclined Rock Impact
**

• Peak filtered deceleration 980g (Target <70g)

• Peak airbag material stresses 281MPa (Target <533MPa)

• Deceleration constraint exceeded due to ‘Dive Through’

Dive Through

• It is critical to prevent ‘direct’ payload to Rock/Ground

impact

• Such type of impact guarantees violation of deceleration

constraint

Direct payload to

rock impact due to

‘dive through’

ExoMars Lander: LS-DYNA Simulation

Optimization Set-up

Design Objective

**- Minimise system mass (Airbag + Payload + Gas +
**

System)

**Design Constraints - Payload acceleration (<70g)
**

- Airbag von Mises stress (<533MPa)

- Re-bound and roll over inversion kinematics

Design objective and constraints evaluated for each landing scenario

Design Variables

**- Airbag base diameter (HyperMorph)
**

- Airbag height (HyperMorph)

- Airbag venting area

- Airbag steady-state pressure (Mass of gas)

**Minimise Design Objective by varying the Design Variables whilst
**

satisfying the Design Constraints

Design Parameterization

Design Variables : Airbag Height and Diameter

• Airbag geometry defined by dimensional relationships between height (H)

and diameter (D) of cross-section, curves are elliptical sections

• Geometric factors a, b, c are constant

¼ ellipse

¼ ellipse

¼ ellipse

Metamodelling

▲

**Need for metamodelling
**

• One LS DYNA analysis of 0.2s after touchdown takes 10 hours of

computing

▲

Unifying approach

• Both optimization and reliability study utilise metamodels

▲

Accuracy of metamodels

• Optimization and reliability studies based on metamodels

• High quality metamodel is required

**DOEs for Metamodel Building
**

▲ Main

**requirements to a Design of Experiments
**

(DOE) are:

• maximum quantity of information

• achieved with minimum computational effort (number of numerical

experiments)

**Optimal Latin Hypercube DOEs
**

▲

▲

**Optimal Latin Hypercube (OLH) DOEs specify the sample
**

points such that as much of the design space is sampled

as possible, with the minimum number of response

evaluations - especially useful when the evaluations are

expensive.

OLH DOEs are highly structured in a way that:

• They provide an optimal uniform distribution of sample points.

• They spread out the sample points efficiently (space filling) through

out the design space.

**LH DOE – conventional
**

(random) and optimal

Random Latin

hypercube

Optimal Latin hypercube

**DOE Optimization: Objective Function
**

(Audze & Eglais 1977)

▲

**Physical analogy: a system consisting of points of unit
**

mass exert repulsive forces on each other causing the

system to have potential energy. When the points are

released from an initial state, they move. They will reach

equilibrium when the potential energy of the repulsive

forces between the masses is at a minimum. If the

magnitude of the repulsive forces is inversely proportional

to the distance squared between the points then minimize:

P

min U

= min ∑

p =1

Potential energy

(objective function)

P

∑

q = p +1

1

2

L pq

Distance between points p and q

**permGA Iteration History for 2
**

Design Variables & 50 Points

**permGA Iteration History for
**

2 Design Variables & 400 Points

**Extended Uniform Latin Hypercube
**

New points

10

10

9

9

8

8

7

7

6

6

5

5

4

4

3

3

2

2

1

1

10

8

6

4

2

0

0

0

2

4

6

8

Uniform Latin

Hypercube sampling,

21 point

10

Existing Points

0

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

0

0

2

4

6

8

**Extended Uniform Latin Extended Uniform Latin
**

Hypercube sampling,

Hypercube sampling,

21 point + corners

21 point + 3 existing

points

10

Metamodelling: DoE

Four Design Variables – 40 DOE Points (EULH) per Landing

Scenario (80 in total)

**Metamodel building using
**

Moving Least Squares Method

(MLSM)

▲

Suggested for generation of surfaces given by points

▲

Used in meshless (mesh-free) form of FEM

▲

Useful for metamodel building

▲

Simple

**Moving Least Squares Method
**

Generalization of a weighted least squares method

where weights do not remain constant but are functions

of Euclidian distance rk from a k-th sampling point to a

point x where the surrogate model is evaluated.

DoE point

xj

Evaluation point

rk

xi

x

**Moving Least Squares Method
**

The weight wi , associated with a sampling point xi ,

decays as a point x moves away from xi .

Because the weights wi are functions of x, the

polynomial basis function coefficients are also

dependent on x.

P

[( )

G (a ( x ) ) = ∑ w p ( x ) F x p

p =1

(

~

− F x p ,a

)]

2

→

min

**This means that it is not possible to obtain an analytical
**

form of the approximation function but its evaluation is

still computationally inexpensive.

**Gaussian weight decay function
**

wi = exp(-θri2)

where θ is “closeness of fit parameter”

θ=1

θ = 10

θ = 100

**Example: six-hump camel back function
**

F(x1,x2) = (4 - 2.1 x12 + x14 / 3) x12+x1x2+(- 4 + 4x22) x22,

-2 ≤ x1 ≤ 2, -1 ≤ x2 ≤ 1.

5.5-6

5-5.5

4.5-5

4-4.5

3.5-4

3-3.5

2.5-3

2-2.5

1.5-2

6

1-1.5

5.5

5

0.5-1

0-0.5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

-0.5-0

-1--0.5

-1.5--1

-2

x2

x1

-1

**Example: six-hump camel back function
**

5.5-6

5-5.5

4.5-5

4-4.5

3.5-4

3-3.5

2.5-3

4-4.5

2-2.5

1.5-2

3-3.5

4

2.5-3

3.5

2-2.5

-0.5-0

3

1.5-2

-1--0.5

2.5

1-1.5

-1.5--1

2

0.5-1

6

1-1.5

5.5

5

0.5-1

0-0.5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

3.5-4

4.5

1.5

-0.5-0

-1--0.5

-1.5--1

x2

-2--1.5

-2

-2

x2

0-0.5

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

-2

x1

-1

x1

Original function

-1

Approximation on 20 sampling

points, θ = 10

**Example: six-hump camel back function
**

5.5-6

5-5.5

4.5-5

4-4.5

3.5-4

3-3.5

6-6.5

2.5-3

5.5-6

2-2.5

1.5-2

6

1-1.5

5.5

5

0.5-1

0-0.5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

-0.5-0

-1--0.5

-1.5--1

4.5-5

4-4.5

3.5-4

3-3.5

2.5-3

2-2.5

1.5-2

1-1.5

0.5-1

0-0.5

-0.5-0

-1--0.5

x2

-1.5--1

-2

-2

x2

5-5.5

6.5

6

5.5

5

4.5

4

3.5

3

2.5

2

1.5

1

0.5

0

-0.5

-1

-1.5

x1

x1

Original function

-1

-1

**Approximation on 100 sampling
**

points, θ = 120

**Example: Computing and Rendering
**

Point Set Surfaces by M. Alexa et al. 2001

larger θ

smaller θ

Metamodel Generation

using MLSM

▲

**MLSM provides a high quality response surface to accurately
**

approximate a highly nonlinear system.

▲

**Important feature of MLSM is efficient handling of numerical noise by
**

adjusting “closeness of fit” parameter to provide close fit to a low

noise situation or loose fit when the response exhibits a larger

amount of noise

▲

**Direct Payload to Rock/Ground Impact resulting in high payload
**

accelerations (>100g) occurred at high percentage of DOE points

▲

**These high results ‘swamp’ the responses of interest in the
**

approximation

▲

Suggestion: cap response at 100g

**MLSM Illustrative Example:
**

Rosenbrock’s Banana Valley

Function

45

2

40

35

40-45

30

35-40

30-35

25

25-30

20

20-25

15-20

15

2

10

1

10-15

5-10

0-5

5

0

2

0

0

0

**Noise outside area of interest
**

▲

Function capped

**To minimise this function, a good quality approximation of the valley
**

should be obtained whilst ignoring numerical noise outside the valley

1-2

0-1

**MLSM Illustrative Example:
**

Rosenbrock’s Banana Valley

Function

3

3

2.5

2.5

2.5-3

2

2

2-2.5

1.5-2

1.5-2

1.5

1-1.5

1.5

1-1.5

0.5-1

1

0-0.5

0.5-1

1

2

0-0.5

2

0.5

0.5

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

0

2.5-3

2-2.5

**Least Squares approximation of capped function, 100 sampling
**

points, quadratic polynomial (left) and cubic polynomial (right), still

give poor approximation of function

**MLSM Illustrative Example:
**

Rosenbrock’s Banana Valley

Function

2

2

1

1-2

1

0-1

1-2

0-1

2

0

0

0

0

Capped function

**MLSM approximation of capped
**

function, 100 sampling points gives

good approximation of function

Optimization results

• Optimized Mass was 403.5kg (baseline 392.8kg)

• Flat Bottom Impact Payload Acceleration increased

from 65.5g to 67.7g

• Rock Impact Payload Acceleration decreased from

980.3g to 69.1g

• Maximum Material Stresses were reduced from

281MPa to 157MPa

• While 3 variables are in middle of range, Vent Area

pushes upper limit

**Optimization results (cont.)
**

• On review of the response data set obtained from the test

plan points it was observed that there was a high

percentage of runs that failed to meet the constraints

• This was reflected in the approximations and resulted in a

small ‘sweet spot’ on the response surface where the

constraints could be met

• Model mass varied very little (<0.25%) within this area (all

runs in this area had more mass than baseline run)

Reliability Assessment of

ExoMars Lander

Ultimately, the reliability figure gives the probability of a

successful landing for a given design under a range of

conditions

▲

**Alternatively it can be used to establish an envelope of
**

conditions for a given success probability

▲

**For this project, the limited number of variables (4)
**

considered, results in a reliability index 'figure of merit',

rather than an overall probability of success

▲

**Establishing this 'figure of merit', index for the reliability
**

of a design gives a useful comparison with alternative

designs

▲

Reliability Assessment:

Model Definitions

Adopt airbag design variables determined by optimization study

▲ Consider only rock impact loadcase (though rock height may be zero, i.e.

flat surface)

▲ Failure defined by exceeding similar constraints to optimisation study

• Resultant deceleration < 80g

• Kinematic metrics, re-bound, roll-over

• No bag tearing

▲

▲

Environment Variables

Design

Variable

DV1

DV2

DV3

DV4

Description

Lateral Wind Velocity

Rock Height

Lander Pitch Attitude

Lander Pitch Rate

Lower

Bound

0 m/s

0m

-20 º

-30 º/s

Upper Bound

20 m/s

0.8 m

20 º

30 º/s

**Wind Speed Probability
**

Distribution

700

600

500

400

300

200

100

8.

0

9.

0

10

.0

11

.0

12

.0

13

.0

14

.0

15

.0

16

.0

17

.0

18

.0

19

.0

20

.0

21

.0

22

.0

23

.0

24

.0

25

.0

26

.0

27

.0

28

.0

29

.0

6.

0

0

7.

0

▲

800

4.

0

▲

900

5.

0

▲

**Mean Resultant Wind Speed
**

1000

2.

0

▲

3.

0

▲

0.

0

▲

1.

0

▲

**European Mars Climate
**

Database (EMCD) - general

circulation model

45°N to 45°S latitudes

Season 12

Mars Global Surveyor dust

loading scenario

PDF fit to EMCD model data

Weibull distribution

Mean = 8.0 m/s

SD = 3.7 m/s

Frequency

▲

Wind Speed (m/s)

**Rock Height Probability
**

Distribution

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

**NASA/JPL rock size distribution
**

model

Viking 1 & 2, MPF landing sites +

Earth analogues

Landing Site rock coverage ≤

20%

Overall rock coverage from

orbital thermal imaging

Rock height = 0.5 x diameter

Exponential PDF

Mean = 0.196 m

SD = 0.196 m

Mars Pathfinder landing site panorama NASA/JPL

Probability Density Function f(H)

7.0

k = 10%

6.0

k = 20%

k = 30%

Probability Density (m^-1)

▲

5.0

4.0

3.0

2.0

1.0

0.0

0.000

0.200

0.400

0.600

0.800

Rock Height H (m)

1.000

1.200

1.400

**Pitch Angle and Pitch Rate
**

▲

▲

**Pendulum motion + gust reaction under parachute at landing
**

Assumed to be random with independent Gaussian Normal PDFs

▲

▲

▲

Pitch Angle

Mean = 0 degs

3σ = 30 degs

▲

▲

▲

Pitch Rate

Mean = 0 deg/s

3σ = 20 deg/s

Reliability Assessment of

ExoMars Lander:

Metamodel generation

• DOE – Uniform Latin HyperCube with Extremities Extension

• Eighty Test Points – 80 LS-DYNA runs executed (single load case)

• Metamodelling using Moving Least Squares Method

• Process is the same as used to generate optimization metamodel, but

with different variables

Counting failures…..

Another

one bites

the dust!

**Baseline Reliability Analysis & Results
**

▲

▲

**100, 1000 and 10000 point
**

Monte Carlo simulations

5 mins cpu on PC for

10000 sample points

Sample Size

100

1000

10000

Success Probability

67.0%

68.3%

68.6%

▲

▲

▲

**Low reliability ~ 69%
**

Inversion failure mode is

primary contributor

Failed Monte Carlo samples +

FE runs indicate trailing edge

contact problem

**Sensitivity to Relaxed Landing Conditions
**

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

**Reduced latitude band 45°N
**

to 10°S

Morning landing for lighter

winds

Landing sites with ≤ 10% rock

coverage

Pitch angle and pitch rate

variability reduced

(knowledge / ‘chute design)

Cumulative improvement in

reliability to ~ 81%

Pitch Angle and Rate yield

biggest improvement

Parameter

Wind Velocity VH

PDF

β = 7.49 m/s

Rock Height h

Weibull

α=2

Exponential

Pitch Angle θ0

Gaussian

3σ = 20°

Pitch Rate Ω0

Gaussian

3σ = 15°/s

PDF Changed

Baseline

Wind Velocity

Rock height

Pitch Angle & Rate

β = 0.151m

Success Probability

68.6%

70.7%

70.8%

80.8%

Conclusions

General

▲ Successful development of methodology to vented

airbags

▲ Valuable tool for

• Design Optimization

• Probabilistic robustness / reliability analysis

• Can be extended to probabilistic design optimization

▲ Importance of simulation-based methods because of

difficulty / high cost of representative testing on earth

Conclusions

ExoMars application

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

▲

**The optimization study arrived at a design that satisfies the
**

requirements with only a small increase in mass

Poor reliability estimated: 69 – 81%

Vent areas could be increased

Change in un-vented toroidal

More complex venting control (e.g. differential triggering)

likely

Reliability analysis uncovered failure modes that had not

previously been considered

Consider pitch-up and pitch-down in future optimisation

Increase simulation times to reduce inversion criteria

uncertainties

Reliability analysis process can be employed in future phases

of the ExoMars project, with more comprehensive reliability

analyses aiming at determining the overall airbag reliability

**Astrium Mars Lander:
**

LS-DYNA Simulation

Any questions?

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