Article Title

Powered-descent landing GNC system design and flight results for Tianwen-1 mission


Tianwen-1, powered-descent landing (PDL), guidance, navigation, and control (GNC), backshell avoidance, hazard avoidance


The powered-descent landing (PDL) phase of the Tianwen-1 mission began with composite backshell—parachute (CBP) separation and ended with landing-rover touchdown. The main tasks of this phase were to reduce the velocity of the lander, perform the avoidance maneuver, and guarantee a soft touchdown. The PDL phase overcame many challenges: performing the divert maneuver to avoid collision with the CBP while simultaneously avoiding large-scale hazards; slowing the descent from approximately 95 to 0 m/s; performing the precise hazard-avoidance maneuver; and placing the lander gently and safely on the surface of Mars. The architecture and algorithms of the guidance, navigation, and control system for the PDL phase were designed; its execution resulted in Tianwen-1's successful touchdown in the morning of 15 May 2021. Consequently, the Tianwen-1 mission achieved a historic autonomous landing with simultaneous hazard and CBP avoidance.