Atmospheric Flight Entry Systems Branch

Provides technical leadership to conceive, design, assess, and optimize vehicle systems for entry, descent and landing (EDL) and trans-atmospheric flight at the Earth as well as the other planetary bodies of the solar system. The branch leads the characterization of flight environments, predicts the flight mechanics necessary to generate trajectories for vehicle projects, and implements the engineering to integrate an entire vehicle system.

  • Aerodynamic and Aeroheating environments and databases (including atmospheric characterization)
  • Mission Design and Flight Operations (including mission trades, mission critical software design, mission ops support and flight trajectory reconstruction)
  • Integrated Systems Simulations (during all vehicle design and ops phases)
  • New Flight Vehicle Technology Concepts (such as deployable thermal protection systems)
  • Development of Modeling and Simulation Tools
  • Flight Mechanics
  • Aerosciences
  • Vehicle Systems

  • EDL HPC Cluster Complex
  • 6-meter HIAD packing test article
  • Fabrication of the Launch Abort System hatch acoustic testing rig
  • Fabrication of an Earth Entry Vehicle engineering demonstration unit
  • Testing torque requirements of radiator harness connectors on the James Webb Space Telescope
  • ORION SPLASH water impact test article ready to drop
  • Chief Engineer of the ORION SPLASH water impact test after a drop

Branch Management

N. Ronald Merski, Branch Head

Glenn A. Hrinda, Assistant Branch Head

Monica F. Hughes, Assistant Branch Head