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Vehicle Analysis Branch – Activities

Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL)

As NASA plans missions to the Moon and Mars, VAB analyzes the Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) trajectory of America’s spacecraft.


VAB provides significant support to NASA Aeronautics Research Directorate’s (ARMD) Hypersonic Technology Project (HTP).


HL-20 was a spaceplane concept studied by VAB. The design uses a lifting body configuration, capable of a conventional runway landing.

NESC Independent Assessments

VAB ensures the safety of American astronauts by providing an independent assessment for the NASA Engineering & Safety Center (NESC).

Space Launch System

As NASA develops its most powerful exploration rocket, VAB is making significant contributions to the trajectory and separation analysis.

Orion Crew Module ———————————-

VAB used simulation software to test flight controls and system capabilities of Orion, which will take the first woman and next man to the Moon. 


VAB personnel have been developing Hercules, an efficient, cost-effective and reusable method of bringing humans to and from Mars.

Mars Swing

Designed to minimize the risks of Mars missions, the Mars Swing is just one of the concepts VAB analyzed to support future space exploration.