Download Full Text (4.8 MB)


The students designed an Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) system for a lander to reach the surface of Venus. The students used a combination of 3D modelling and programming to design the EDL within given constraints under specific tolerances. An EDL takes into consideration entry flight dynamics, aeroheating, and landing systems. The EDL was divided into three stages (see below). The separation of stages was designed to address unique challenges found at different points throughout the EDL. The primary objective of the first stage was to minimize the heat associated with the entry velocity to the payload. The second stage implemented a parachute to reduce velocity such that the descent time criteria could be met. The third stage involved landing design. Through the use of six simultaneous differential equations, the flight of the vehicle was determined. The system was optimized by modifying craft parameters and initial conditions to meet objectives. After optimization, the revised values of position and velocity were obtained at every time step during descent. The vehicle velocity was used to calculate the heat rate to the heat shield of the entry vehicle. Through the use of a parachute, drag was increased to extend the time of flight and to slow the vehicle for landing. Designs were implemented to minimize impact force to the lander and maintain proper orientation during landing.

Publication Date



Aerospace, Venus, Simulation, Flight Dynamics


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

James G. Miller

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

May 2018

Venus Lander Design