NASA robotic lander test will aid in future lander designs

October 31, 2011 By Kim Newton

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA will conduct a 100-foot robotic lander altitude test flight Friday, Nov. 4, to mature the technology needed to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of achieving scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon, asteroids or other airless bodies.

The test will begin between 10:30 - 11 a.m. CDT and will air live on Television's Education Channel and the agency's Website. The outdoor test will occur at the U.S. Army's Redstone Test Center on Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Ala., and is weather dependant.

The lander prototype will perform an autonomous hover test, flying up to 100 feet and then translate, or move sideways, to perform a controlled, safe landing 30 feet away from the . The lander, dubbed Mighty Eagle, is fueled by 90 percent pure and receives its commands from an onboard computer that activates its onboard to carry it to a controlled landing using a pre-programmed flight profile. This series of tests demonstrate the test article’s capability to perform an autonomous descent and landing and are being used to checkout landing control algorithms for the next generation of lander missions.

Journalists can attend the test or participate in a media telecon 45 minutes after the altitude . Telecon participants will include Greg Chavers, lead systems engineer for the Robotic Lander Development Project at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and Julie Bassler, project manager for the Robotic Lander Development Project at Marshall. The project is managed by NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

To attend these events, reporters should contact Kim Newton, Marshall Public and Employee Communications Office at 256-544-0034 no later than 4 p.m. CDT Thursday, Nov. 3. Media representatives must report to the Redstone Visitor Center at Gate 9, Interstate 565 interchange at Rideout Road/Research Park Boulevard. Vehicles will be subjected to a security search at the gate. Journalists will need two photo identifications and proof of car insurance.

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit: www.nasa.gov/ntv

The also will be webcast live via Ustream at: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc

Explore further: NASA 'Drops' Next Generation Robotic Lander During Autonomous Tests

Related Stories

NASA's new lander prototype 'skates' through testing

January 27, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- NASA engineers successfully integrated and completed system testing on a new robotic lander recently at Teledyne Brown Engineering’s facility in Huntsville in support of the Robotic Lunar Lander Project ...

New robotic lander tested at historic test site

March 4, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Today, engineers at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., began the first phase of integrated system tests on a new robotic lander prototype at Redstone Test Center’s propulsion test ...

NASA's robotic lander takes flight (w/ video)

June 22, 2011

On Monday, June 13, the robotic lander mission team was poised and ready when the lander prototype in the adjacent building lifted itself off the ground and rose -- unrestrained -- higher and higher. Applause broke out in ...

Recommended for you

Test for damp ground at Mars streaks finds none

August 24, 2016

Seasonal dark streaks on Mars that have become one of the hottest topics in interplanetary research don't hold much water, according to the latest findings from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars.

China unveils 2020 Mars rover concept: report

August 24, 2016

China has unveiled illustrations of a Mars probe and rover it aims to send to the Red Planet at the end of the decade in a mission that faces "unprecedented" challenges, state media said on Wednesday.

Fossilized rivers suggest warm, wet ancient Mars

August 23, 2016

Extensive systems of fossilised riverbeds have been discovered on an ancient region of the Martian surface, supporting the idea that the now cold and dry Red Planet had a warm and wet climate about 4 billion years ago, according ...

What do aliens look like? The clue is in evolution

August 19, 2016

Speculating about what aliens look like has kept children, film producers and scientists amused for decades. If they exist, will extra terrestrials turn out to look similar to us, or might they take a form beyond our wildest ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.