Date of Award

January 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics


Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Michael J Grant

Committee Member 1

Michael J Grant

Committee Member 2

James M Longuski

Committee Member 3

Charles R Kenley


Supersonic retropropulsion (SRP) is the use of retrorockets to decelerate during atmospheric flight while the vehicle is still traveling in the supersonic/hypersonic flight regime. In the context of Mars exploration, subsonic retropropulsion has a robust flight heritage for terminal landing guidance and control, but all supersonic deceleration has, to date, been performed by non-propulsive (i.e. purely aerodynamic) methods, such as aeroshells and parachutes.