Tech

July 27, 2012

Dryden helped JPL calibrate Mars Science Lab radar

by Raphael Jaffe
Staff Writer

One of the key systems of the upcoming landing of the Mars Science Lab is a new pulse-Doppler radar. The Terminal Descent Sensor provides velocimetric and altitude data.

Its rigorous test program included two series of flight tests at NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.

JPL field test lead Jim Montgomery presented a colloquium on the tests to the Dryden community July 25.

The test program uses a “test it as it flies” philosophy. It thus included the low altitude, low velocity regime up to the anticipated approach angles and speeds of the descent.

The first Dryden involvement was the use of a helicopter-suspended test model over Rogers Dry Lake. Altitude data was compared to GPS ground truth values. The flat terrain of Rogers made it possible to eliminate any errors involved with terrain variations. This made data analysis more direct. The first TDS tests were in July 2006, and showed issues were resolved as development continued. The Rogers Dry Lake helicopter tests were done in May, 2010

A joint Dryden-JPL team worked very hard to find the way to reproduce the landing angles and velocities anticipated. The Dryden F/A-18 pilots found the required involved flight paths. These involved a vertical dive of the inverted aircraft. The engineering model of the Terminal Descent Sensor was housed under the F/A-18 in a Quick Test Experimental Pod.

From May to June, 2011 there were 21 hours of test flights. Data taken for 44 minutes during these tests matched the Mars Science Lab carrier stage flight profile. At this stage of the mission, the carrier is free swinging, suspended from its parachute. The data collected was sufficient to fine-tune the software, to ensure it was calibrated as accurately as possible prior to Curiosity’s landing.

Montgomery expressed his appreciation. “You should be proud of your professionalism,” he told Dryden employees.

There were more than 70 people involved in conducting the tests.




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


 
 

 

Headlines September 11, 2014

News: Obama ready to strike at Islamic State militants in Syria, he tells policy experts - President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have...
 
 

News Briefs September 11, 2014

U.S. airstrikes in Iraq hit Islamic State vehicles The U.S. military says it launched five more airstrikes in support of Iraqi government troops and Sunni tribesmen protecting the Haditha Dam against fighters of the Islamic State group that controls parts of northern and western Iraq. Central Command says that a combination of U.S. attack, fighter...
 
 
boeing-india

Boeing delivers fifth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India

  Boeing delivered the fifth P-8I maritime patrol aircraft to India, on schedule, Sept. 9 as part of a contract for eight aircraft to support the Indian Navy’s maritime patrol requirements. The aircraft arrived at Naval ...
 

 

Raytheon receives $109 million contract for Patriot Air and Missile Defense System

Raytheon Comp received a $109 million Engineering Services contract for its Patriot Air and Missile Defense System. The contract, issued by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command, Redstone Arsenal, Ala., is for ongoing technical support and services to the U.S. Army and Foreign Military Sale customers to ensure readiness of their Patriot systems. “Customers...
 
 
boeing-satellite

Boeing receives first order for 502 Phoenix small satellite

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Boeing has received its first commercial order for the 502 Phoenix small satellite from HySpecIQ of Washington, D.C. The satellites will carry the commercial remote sensing industry’s first high...
 
 

Northrop Grumman to develop active electronically scanned array technology

Northrop Grumman has been selected by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency to develop and demonstrate advanced wideband digital antenna technology for next generation radio frequency sensors using active electronically scanned arrays. The DARPA Microsystems Technology Office awarded Northrop Grumman an $11.9 million contract for phase one of the Arrays on Commercial Timescales (ACT) pr...
 




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>