Precision Landing Exploration Technology (PLANET) PI: Douglas Zimpfer, Draper Laboratory Via NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program
Planetary Landing Exploration Technology (PLANET) leverages mature cross-cutting Autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control (AGNC) technology and flight proven hardware to provide cost-effective, safe closed-loop sRLV flight demonstration of Precision Landing AGNC. The demonstration results provide risk reduction of the application of precision landing and hazard avoidance to a broad range of future NASA missions and technology demonstration projects. In addition to maturing the Precision Landing AGNC technology, the project extends the capabilities of the sRLV vehicles and enable future technology demonstrations.
Video Caption: Masten Space Systems’ Xombie space-access technology demonstrator recently flew its highest and longest flight to date, guided by Draper Lab’s GENIE navigation and control system that is designed to replicate the speed and angle of a planetary approach. Xombie Ascended more than 1,600 feet above ground and flew almost 1,000 feet laterally before making a pin-point vertical landing on another pad.
Ben Brockert: “I built much of Xombie when I worked at Masten Space Systems. It is now, as far as I know, the longest lived VTVL rocket testbed in the world. I built the avionics, welded together the frame, did much of the plumbing, and ran its early test flight program. I’m really happy to see it continue doing really amazing flights.”
MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) – A rocket-powered, vertical-landing space-access technology demonstrator reached its highest altitude and furthest distance to date March 25 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., using a developmental navigation system designed to land a space vehicle on other celestial bodies.
Flight Campaign Dates: November 5-15, 2012 Location: Mojave Air and Spaceport, Mojave CA Flight Profiles: Simulated Martian and Lunar landing trajectories Vehicle: XA-0.1B “Xombie” — Masten Space Systems Flight Hardware: Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (GENIE) — Charles Stark Draper Laboratory
MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) — The first successful free flight of a new rocket-powered vertical landing demonstrator occurred recently at Mojave Air and Space Port, Mojave, Calif. The flight used a new flight control system concept that will enable future demonstrations of landing technologies needed for exploration of planets and moons, as well as near-Earth objects, like asteroids. NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program sponsored the flight and control system test.
Masten Space Systems’ Xombie suborbital rocket lifted off the launch pad Feb. 2 while being controlled by Draper Laboratory’s Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (GENIE) system. The rocket rose 164 feet, moved laterally 164 feet, and then landed on another pad after a 67-second flight. The flight represents the first step in developing a test bed capability that will allow for landing demonstrations that start at much higher altitudes-several miles above the ground.
Video Caption: Using the GENIE (Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment) System, Draper Laboratory raised Masten Space Systems’ Xombie suborbital rocket 50 meters to a stable hover, sent it laterally down range 50 meters, and then had it land safely during a controlled 50 meter descent. The testing, which exercised the autonomous guidance, navigation, and control technology needed to fly planetary landing trajectories, was conducted at the Mojave Air and Space Port in California.
The GENIE precision landing GN&C system was developed jointly between Draper and NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) under the Autonomous Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) effort, and is being flown under contract with NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, which is managed by NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center.