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 August 18, 2014

News: U.S. mission in Iraq could expand, Pentagon official says - The mission for U.S. troops in Iraq to help Kurdish and Iraqi security forces in their fight against Islamic militants remains limited for now, but may expand after Iraqi leaders form a new government, a Pentagon spokesman said Aug. 19.   Business: Fuel deals top...
 
 

News Briefs August 20, 2014

Trials complete on fourth Coast Guard cutter Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Miss., has completed acceptance sea trials for the company’s fourth U.S. Coast Guard national security cutter, Hamilton. Jim French, Ingalls’ NSC program manager, tells The Mississippi Press) the Hamilton is scheduled to be delivered next month and commissioned on Dec. 6 in Charleston, South...
 
 
Army photograph by Sgt. Thomas Duval

Air Force, Army Aviation come together to complete vital mission in Egypt

Army photograph by Sgt. Thomas Duval Soldiers and airmen load a UH-60 Black Hawk into an Air Force C17 Globemaster III Aug. 19, 2104, at an old Israeli airstrip in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. The airstrip is now used by the M...
 

 
Air Force photograph by TSgt. Terri Praden

Joint effort validates ability to move Stryker vehicles via air

Air Force photograph by TSgt. Terri Praden An Army Stryker combat vehicle is guided into a C-17 Globemaster III during a 25th Infantry Division training exercise Aug. 13, 2014, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. The Str...
 
 
NASA image

Ozone-depleting compound persists, NASA research shows

NASA image Satellites observed the largest ozone hole over Antarctica in 2006. Purple and blue represent areas of low ozone concentrations in the atmosphere; yellow and red are areas of higher concentrations. NASA research show...
 
 

F-16V completes major capability milestone

The newest configuration of the F-16 Fighting Falcon, the F-16V, has reached a major capability milestone with the integration of a new Active Electronically Scanned Array radar. Completing this milestone on schedule demonstrates our ability to meet program commitments, said Roderick McLean, vice president and general manager of the F-16/F-22 Integrated Fighter Group at Lockheed...
 




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>