NAVIGATING THE VIKING LANDERS

E. A. Euler

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: On July 20, 1976, Viking Lander I became the first unmanned spacecraft to land and operate successfully on the planet Mars. This was followed by a second successful landing on September 3, 1976. This paper gives a detailed description of the autonomous on-board navigation process to perform the guidance, control, and entry navigation functions. Also, the functions performed on the ground to generate and validate the guidance commands sent to the spacecraft prior to descent are described. In-flight measures of navigation system performance are compared against a-priori error estimates to show that the descents were completely nominal in all respects. The final landing errors were 25 km and 10 km for Missions 1 and 2, respectively.
Published in: NAVIGATION, Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 25, Number 1
Pages: 11 - 18
Cite this article: Euler, E. A., "NAVIGATING THE VIKING LANDERS", NAVIGATION, Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 25, No. 1, Spring 1978, pp. 11-18.
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