After atmospheric reentry, a non-powered spacecraft will land on an area depending upon entry angle, entry mass, atmosphere and drag. It is therefore impossible to know the spacecraft's landing point with absolute precision. By simulating varying reentry courses, a numerical simulation will produce a plot resembling a footprint. The footprint size depends on the confidence interval used to develop the map.
Another name for landing footprint is landing ellipse.
- Lakdawalla, Emily (May 13, 2008). "Landing Ellipse". The Planetary Society. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
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