MOJAVE, Calif. (NASA PR) — Many regions in the solar system beckon for exploration, but they are considered unreachable due to technology gaps in current landing systems. The CoOperative Blending of Autonomous Landing Technologies (COBALT) project, conducted by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate’s (STMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, could change that.
Through a flight campaign this month through April, COBALT will mature and demonstrate new guidance, navigation and control (GN&C) technologies to enable precision landing for future exploration missions.
HAMPTON, Va. (NASA PR) — A laser-guided navigation sensor that could help future rovers make safe, precise landings on Mars or destinations beyond will soon undergo testing in California’s Mojave Desert.
The Navigation Doppler Lidar, or NDL, which was developed at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, will be flight tested aboard a rocket-powered Vertical Take-off, Vertical Landing (VTVL) platform, named Xodiac, developed by Masten Space Systems, in Mojave, California.
Video Caption: Introducing the next generation of reusable rockets – Masten’s Xodiac and XaeroB.
As the successors to Xombie, Xoie, and Xaero, these two rockets serve as terrestrial test beds for commercial and government developers. Features of Masten terrestrial test bed include:
precision vertical landing
custom flight profile
custom physical/mechanical integration
rocket powered station keeping
Reusable. Repeatable. Precise.
Masten Space Systems reusable launch vehicles are low-altitude, rocket-powered, autonomous Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTVL) testbeds.
Our approach to flight operations is rapid iteration and same day turnaround. We quickly test, evaluate, pivot, and test again.
Leveraging Masten’s vehicles and platform, engineers are able to safely and accurately test their developing space systems in a relevant operational environment before it gets to the Moon, Mars, or anywhere else in the solar system.
The Next Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference finished up today in Colorado. There were provider presentations from Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic. Three researchers also presented results from suborbital microgravity flights.
Below are summaries of the sessions based on Tweets. (more…)