Daedalon: A Revolutionary Morphing Spacecraft Design for Planetary Exploration
Lafleur, Jarret M.
Olds, John R.
Braun, Robert D.
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The product of a study sponsored by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), Daedalon is a spacecraft design baselined for Mars which utilizes morphing wing technology to achieve the design objective of a standard, flexible architecture for unmanned planetary exploration. This design encompasses a detailed vehicle mass and power sizing study for the Daedalon lander as well as its cruise stage and entry backshell. A cost estimation and comparison study is also performed, and qualitative functionality comparisons are made between Daedalon and other Mars lander and airplane designs. Quantitative comparisons of gross mass and range are also made, including the results of scaling an existing Mars aerial vehicle design to match Daedalon functionality. Altogether, the Daedalon launch mass is found to be 896 kg for a 12 kg payload capacity. If five such vehicles are produced, it is found that the per-mission cost can be as low as $224 million. Given the necessary morphing wing technology development, it is concluded that the Daedalon design may be a feasible and cost-effective approach to planetary exploration 20-40 years in the future.