NASA

April 5, 2013

Highest, longest flight to date for Masten’s Xombie with Genie payload

Masten Space Systems’ Xombie technology demonstration rocket soars aloft, guided by Draper Lab’s GENIE navigation and control system designed to land space vehicles on other bodies in the solar system.

MOJAVE, Calif. A rocket-powered, vertical-landing space-access technology demonstrator reached its highest altitude and furthest distance to date March 25 at the Mojave Air and Space Port in Mojave, Calif., using a developmental navigation system designed to land a space vehicle on other celestial bodies.

Masten Space Systemsí XA-0.1B ìXombieî suborbital rocket lifted off the launch pad for an 80-second flight while being controlled by Charles Stark Draper Laboratoryís Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (GENIE) system developed under NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program.

This combined capability of a rocket-powered demonstrator and a closed-loop planetary Guidance, Navigation and Control system allows NASA to begin testing prototype landing instruments for future missions to the Moon or Mars under realistic conditions without leaving Earth.

Tye Brady, principal investigator for Draper Lab’s GENIE flight control system, makes final adjustments to the system on Masten Space Systems’ Xombie technology demonstration rocket before liftoff.

Two hundred meters above the Martian or lunar surface is not the place you want to be using an innovative new sensor or landing algorithm for the first time,” explained Christopher Baker of the Flight Opportunities Program at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base. “We are working to create an environment that provides opportunities to test these systems a little closer to home.”

Xombie rose 1,626 feet, or nearly 500 meters ñ higher than New York’s Empire State Building moving in a trajectory that replicated the speed and angle of a planetary approach. It landed 984 feet, nearly 300 meters, away from the take off site. The flight established a test-bed capability that will allow for landing demonstrations that start at much higher altitudesóseveral miles above the ground.

“While computer simulations provide some value as systems are developed, testing that system in a relevant flight environment is invaluable,” said Colin Ake, Masten’s director of business development. ìWe want our vehicles to facilitate innovation and lower the current barriers to space access. We hope this is just the beginning of many more landing tests for NASA and Draper.

Masten Space Systems’ Xombie space-access technology demonstrator lifts off on its highest and longest flight to date, guided by Draper Lab’s GENIE navigation and control system.

With a growing interest in using commercial suborbital launch vehicles to demonstrate planetary landing technology applications for future space missions, the Flight Opportunities Program funded the development of precision landing technology demonstrations.

Draper, based in Cambridge, Mass., was selected to lead this engineering and integration demonstration effort. Draper subsequently teamed with Masten, based in Mojave, to provide the vertical takeoff and landing flight vehicle to demonstrate this new landing technology. Flight safety and assurance monitoring was performed by Mastenís Senseiô software during flight.

“Draper is excited to be a part of a team that demonstrated such a unique capability, combining our guidance, navigation and control technology with a proven test flight platform like Xombie, said Doug Zimpfer, Draper’s associate director for human space exploration. ìWe believe the GENIE and Xombie system provide NASA with the platform necessary to demonstrate a wide range of exciting planetary landing technologies including advanced guidance technology.

Masten’s Xombie space-access technology demonstrator descends for landing after its highest and longest flight to date, guided by Draper Lab’s GENIE navigation and control system.

Flight Opportunities initiated the test efforts in December 2011. The flights built incrementally on ground simulations, tethered flights and closed-loop flight demonstrations. The most recent flight demonstrated an expanded Xombie and GENIE envelope for precision planetary landing that includes enough margin to integrate additional landing sensor technologies in the future.

The Flight Opportunities Program, part of NASAís Space Technology Mission Directorate, is enabling demonstration and maturation of new technology payloads using suborbital reusable launch vehicles, high-altitude balloons and parabolic aircraft to expose technology payloads to space-relevant environments of reduced gravity or near-space flights.

The program facilitates low-cost access to suborbital environments for a broad range of innovators as a means of advancing space technology development and supporting the evolving entrepreneurial commercial space industry.

The Space Technology Mission Directorate will develop the cross-cutting, advanced and pioneering new technologies needed for NASA’s current and future missions, many of which also benefit America’s aerospace industries, other government agencies, and address national needs.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

News Briefs July 25, 2014

Focus group Here’s your chance to be heard. The Edwards Commissary is looking for volunteers to participate in a group discussion about your Commissary. They will be conducting focus groups July 29 from noon to 2 p.m. and again from 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. If you would like to participate, send an e-mail to...
 
 
aafes-school

Exchange moves to the head of the class with extra back-to-school savings

With the first bell about to ring on a new school year, the Army & Air Force Exchange Service is giving lessons in savings. The Exchange is helping military shoppers make the grade with competitive prices and tax savings on...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit

Major wins major bucks on ‘Price Is Right’

Air Force photograph by Kenji Thuloweit Maj. Kevin Van Stone, Air Force Operational Test and Evaluation Center Detachment 5, and his wife, Melinda (right), speak to a representative from CBS after being handed a giant check for...
 

 
NASA photograph by Tom Tschida

NASA Armstrong Support Center receives LEED platinum certification

NASA photograph by Tom Tschida Large expanses of windows and curved rooflines highlight NASA Armstrong’s new Facilities Support Center. The 38,000-square-foot structure has been certified that it met the Leadership in Ene...
 
 

Exchange shoppers can keep on ticking with Hello Kitty sweepstakes

Military shoppers can keep time with Hello Kitty thanks to the latest sweepstakes from the Army & Air Force Exchange Service. Twenty-five winners will take home a Hello Kitty watch, valued at $85. From July 25 to Aug. 22, Exchange shoppers can enter to win by emailing patriotfamily@aafes.com and putting “Hello Kitty Sweepstakes” in the...
 
 

Leadership Lessons: Who would you follow?

GRAND FORKS AIR FORCE BASE, N.D.†-†Over the last year I have enjoyed reading articles from our wing leadership on their perspectives and experiences which have made them better leaders. I have great admiration for their words of wisdom and have benefited from their shared experiences. When I was asked to write a leadership piece I...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>