NASA robotic lander test will aid in future lander designs

Oct 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: Mercury MESSENGER nears epic mission end

Related Stories

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

Jun 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 ...

New robotic lander tested at historic test site

Mar 04, 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 ...

NASA's new lander prototype 'skates' through testing

Jan 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 ...

Recommended for you

Mercury MESSENGER nears epic mission end

4 minutes ago

A spacecraft that carries a sensor built at the University of Michigan is about to crash into the planet closest to the sun—just as NASA intended.

Dawn glimpses Ceres' north pole

1 hour ago

After spending more than a month in orbit on the dark side of dwarf planet Ceres, NASA's Dawn spacecraft has captured several views of the sunlit north pole of this intriguing world. These images were taken ...

A blueprint for clearing the skies of space debris

Apr 17, 2015

An international team of scientists have put forward a blueprint for a purely space-based system to solve the growing problem of space debris. The proposal, published in Acta Astronautica, combines a super-wide field-of-view telesc ...

User comments : 0

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.