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Topic: NASA’s Flight Opportunities

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 selects experiments to accompany Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo Flight

 

Written by Rachel Hoover
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA has selected 12 technology experiments to fly on the first commercial research flight on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo.

Through NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, officials have been working with commercial companies, universities and government organizations to coordinate testing of innovative space technologies on research flights through the use of commercial suborbital flight platforms.

Telescopic image of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo during a supersonic test flight in 2013. (Mars Scientific/Clay Center Observatory)

Telescopic image of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo during a supersonic test flight in 2013. (Mars Scientific/Clay Center Observatory)

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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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