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NASA announces Successful Test of Sample Return Technology

 

Written by Leslie Williams
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – Just a sample will do.

Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, California, flight tested its pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, on Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket on May 24th, launching from Mojave, California, and landing to collect a sample of more than 320 grams of top soil from the surface of the desert floor.

“The opportunity to test a technology on Earth before it is destined for another planet allows researchers and mission planners to have confidence that once the technology arrives to its space destination it will work,” said Ryan Dibley, NASA Flight Opportunities program campaign manager. Flight Opportunities program funded the test flight.

Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket flight tests Honeybee Robotics pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, in Mojave Desert. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

Masten Space Systems’ Xodiac rocket flight tests Honeybee Robotics pneumatic sampler collection system, PlanetVac, in Mojave Desert. (NASA Photo / Lauren Hughes)

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NASA tests Lander Vision System for 2020 Mars Rover

 

Written by Leslie Williams
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPalmdale, CA – NASA tested new “eyes” for its next Mars rover mission on a rocket built by Masten Space Systems in Mojave, California, thanks in part to NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, or FOP.

The agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is leading development of the Mars 2020 rover and its Lander Vision System, or LVS. In 2014, the prototype vision system launched 1,066 feet (325 meters) into the air aboard Masten’s rocket-powered “Xombie” test platform and helped guide the rocket to a precise landing at a predesignated target. LVS flew as part of a larger system of experimental landing technologies called the Autonomous Descent and Ascent Powered-flight Testbed, or ADAPT.

NASA's Mars 2020 rover will use a landing system nearly identical to the 2012 landing of Curiosity (depicted in this artist's concept) but with added precision from the Lander Vision System. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will use a landing system nearly identical to the 2012 landing of Curiosity (depicted in this artist’s concept) but with added precision from the Lander Vision System. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tests Precision Flight Control Software

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A year after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s landed on Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, are testing a sophisticated flight-control algorithm that could allow for even more precise, pinpoint landings of future Martian spacecraft.

Flight testing of the new Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance algorithm – G-FOLD for short – for planetary pinpoint landing is being conducted jointly by JPL engineers in cooperation with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, CA, using Masten’s XA-0.1B “Xombie” vertical-launch, vertical-landing experimental rocket.

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL's Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/Masten)

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, Calif., ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port on a test for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The vehicle is a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing experimental rocket. It is being used in collaboration with NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to evaluate performance of JPL’s Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance (G-FOLD), a new algorithm for planetary pinpoint landing of spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/Masten)

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