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 December 19, 2014

News: SpaceX’s attempt to land rocket on floating barge postponed - It’s set to be one of the most groundbreaking moments in humanity’s six decades of space exploration. Obama signs $1.1 trillion spending bill into law - President Obama signed the $1.1 trillion federal spending measure into law Dec. 16, officially ending any threat of a government...
 
 

News Briefs December 19, 2014

Trial set for ex-Navy engineer in military secrets case A former Navy civilian engineer is scheduled to stand trial next summer on charges of trying to steal aircraft carrier schematics. Media outlets report that 35-year-old Mostafa Awwad of Yorktown, Va., pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to two counts of attempted exportation of defense articles and...
 
 
Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez

Army to launch cruise missile-detecting aerostat at Aberdeen Proving Ground

Army photograph by C. Todd Lopez The Army plans to launch an aerostat, part of the “Joint Land Attack Cruise Missile Defense Elevated Netted Sensor,” in late December 2014. The JLENS aerostat will be tethered to the...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan

AF delivers Iraqi F-16s for training in US

Air Force photograph by SrA. Jordan Castelan Iraqi air force captain Hama conducts preflight inspections while inside a new to service Iraqi F-16 Fighting Falcon Dec. 17, 2014, located at the nearby Tucson International Airport...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn

Short-notice: A new way to exercise

Air Force photograph by SSgt. Derek VanHorn Airmen from Kadena Air Base, Japan, prepare for an aeromedical evacuation exercise on a KC-135 Stratotanker Dec. 5, 2014, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The operation was executed in supp...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe

Japan, Australia to provide F-35 maintenance sites in Pacific region

Lockheed Martin photograph by Andy Wolfe An F-35C Lightning II joint strike fighter carrier variant prepares to launch from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz in the Pacific Ocean, Nov. 6, 2014. Japan and Australia will be sharing...
 




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>