NASA

August 9, 2013

NASA Dryden’s DROID mini-UAV reaches new heights

The DROID 3 takes off from the Muroc Model Masters strip on Rosamond Dry Lake on its first attempt to reach 10,000-foot altitude.

 

The smallest member of NASA Dryden Flight Research Center’s research aircraft fleet successfully flew to new heights recently to validate its potential as a tow plane for a scale model of a rocket-launching glider.

A Dryden Remotely Operated Integrated Drone, or DROID, a modified radio-controlled Super Flyin’ King model aircraft designed by Bruce Tharpe Engineering, flew to an altitude of 10,000 feet over Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. Researchers are flying the DROID, whose wing spans about 10 feet, to test the Towed Glider Air-Launch Concept, a proposed technique to horizontally launch a rocket into near-Earth orbit from a towed glider.

“(Doing this) feels great. We have been wanting to do this for some time now and had the window of opportunity,” said Mike Marston, the DROID project lead.

Not only did the small DROID – one of four such aircraft at the center – fly higher than it ever had before, it also showed it has enough excess thrust to tow a scale model of a glider and rocket. During the test flight, researchers also gathered data for developing a DROID flight simulator.

If the DROID team can prove the concept on a small scale, it is one step closer to potentially launching a rocket from a glider towed by a large passenger or cargo aircraft. This concept could make small payload, near-Earth orbit launches far less expensive than present launch methods.

The Towed Glider Air-Launch Concept, conceived by NASA Dryden aeronautics engineer Gerald Budd, is an in-house effort supported by the center’s research innovation fund.

 




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


 
 

 
NASA photograph by Jim Yungel

NASA DC-8 continues west Antarctic ice study

NASA photograph by Jim Yungel The Thurston Island calving front off of western Antarctica as seen from the window of NASA’s DC-8 flying observatory Nov. 5, 2014. NASA’s DC-8 flying laboratory has two weeks of suppor...
 
 
NASA photograph

NASA Armstrong celebrates 50th anniversary of LLRV first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA Armstrong hosted a colloquium to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first LLRV flight. Guests included original team members, from left, Wayne Ottinger, Dave Stoddard Glenn Angle, Gene Mat...
 
 
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...
 

 
NASA/NSERC photograph by Jane Peterson

College students study Earth from NASA’s DC-8 flying lab

NASA/NSERC photograph by Jane Peterson Jonathan Hemingway, an applied meteorology and computational mathematics major at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida, assists in installation of the Whole Air Sampler instrume...
 
 
NASA photograph by Jim Ross

NASA Aeronautics makes strides to bring back supersonic passenger travel

NASA photograph by Jim Ross NASA F/A-18 mission support aircraft were used to create low-intensity sonic booms during a resaerch project at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California. The Wavefor...
 
 
Image courtesy of NASA/SOFIA/EXES/Mathew Richter

NASA begins testing of new spectrograph on agency’s airborne observatory

Image courtesy of NASA/SOFIA/EXES/Mathew Richter EXES, the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph, made its first light commissioning flight on April 7, 2014 on NASA’s SOFIA flying observatory. The instrument, shown mounted t...
 




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>