This paper addresses NASA's requirement on the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander to provide spacecraft communications during entry, descent, and landing on Mars to allow the identification of probable root cause should any mission failure occur. The Phoenix mission launched on 4 August 2007 and will land on 25 May 2008 on the northern plains of Mars to conduct a three-month study of the Martian environment. The paper discusses the architectural trades in designing a communications link and surveys the entry, descent, and landing communications approaches taken by previous missions. It then discusses the Phoenix-specific constraints and degrees of freedoms and presents a novel and robust implementation approach to entry, descent, and landing communications. The overall methodology and conclusions described herein can serve as a pathfinder for the entry, descent, and landing communications architecture and implementation of future Mars landed missions
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