by Jennifer Stanfield for Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville AL (SPX) Aug 15, 2012
The "Mighty Eagle," a NASA robotic prototype lander, is soaring high again for a series of tests being conducted at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
Since its last round of tests in 2011, the Mighty Eagle team has made significant updates to the guidance controls on the lander's camera, furthering its autonomous capabilities.
The three-legged "green" lander is fueled by 90 percent pure hydrogen peroxide and receives its commands from an onboard computer that activates its onboard thrusters to carry it to a controlled landing using a pre-programmed flight profile. It is 4 feet tall and 8 feet in diameter and, when fueled, weighs 700 pounds.
In this series of tests, which will continue through September, the lander prototype will autonomously fly and hover at 30 feet for two tests, and up to 100 feet for another two tests, and then move sideways, to safely land 30 feet away from the launch pad.
The test demonstrates what it will take to perform the final descent of an autonomous controlled landing on the moon, asteroids or other airless bodies.
"These lander tests provide the data necessary to expand our capabilities to go to other destinations," said Dr. Greg Chavers, engineering manager and warm gas test article lead at the Marshall Center.
"It also furthers our knowledge of the engineering components needed for future human and robotic missions." NASA will use the Mighty Eagle to mature the technology needed to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers capable of achieving scientific and exploration goals throughout the solar system.
The Mighty Eagle prototype lander was developed by the Marshall Center and Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., for NASA's Planetary Sciences Division, Headquarters Science Mission Directorate. Key partners in this project include the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation, which includes the Science Applications International Corporation, Dynetics Corp. and Teledyne Brown Engineering Inc., all of Huntsville.
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Roscosmos Announces Tender for Moon Rocket Design
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Aug 07, 2012
The Russian Space Agency (Roscosmos) announced a ten-million ruble ($300,000) tender on Thursday to develop a blueprint of a heavy rocket-carrier that would be capable of carrying manned spacecraft to the moon, according to the official website that tracks state purchases. According to the tender, the proposals, to be submitted before August 28, must lay out the details of the rocket-carri ... read more
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