infographic SpaceX Red Dragon Landing ~1 minute read
This is the approximate trajectory of the SpaceX Red Dragon capsule during its landing on Mars.
- Red Dragon controls its trajectory by sliding a mass along an internal rail (to shift the center of mass) and rolling along its long axis. This is used to fine-tune the landing ellipse.
- After the period of peak heating, Red Dragon continues to adjust its trajectory. During this time, it’s still travelling at several times the speed of sound; the vehicle bleeds off speed while gaining some altitude.
- As Red Dragon approaches the surface, its eight SuperDraco engines ignite for the landing. At this point, Red Dragon is travelling at its terminal velocity of about Mach 2.
- The four landing feet, built into the bottom of Red Dragon (and integrated into the heatshield) extend moments before touchdown.
- Red Dragon touches down on Mars.
This infographic was created by Jon Ross. Contact me if you'd like to use it anywhere.