Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Asteroid and moon landing technology demonstrated

Date:
April 5, 2013
Source:
Google Lunar X PRIZE
Summary:
Last week Astrobotic successfully flew a sensor package designed to guide spacecraft safely to the surface of asteroids, moons, planets, and beyond.  The flight occurred on an unmanned helicopter operated by a pilot on the ground.  The flights are preparation for demonstration of this capability on a propulsive lander similar to Astrobotic's Griffin.

NASA has awarded Astrobotic a flight opportunity on the Masten Xaero launch vehicle to demonstrate asteroid and moon landing technology.
Credit: Astrobotic

Last week Astrobotic successfully flew a sensor package designed to guide spacecraft safely to the surface of asteroids, moons, planets, and beyond. The flight occurred on an unmanned helicopter operated by a pilot on the ground. The flights are preparation for demonstration of this capability on a propulsive lander similar to Astrobotic's Griffin. Astrobotic was selected by NASA for flight opportunities on a propulsive lander which culminate in a fully autonomous landing demonstration with hazard detection, trajectory planning, and closed-loop control.

Related Articles


"This flight opportunity represents a major milestone not just for us, but for spacecraft in general. We'll be the first to demonstrate a GPS-denied propulsive landing from high altitude that can re-plan its route after discovering its targeted landing area is unsafe to land," said Kevin Peterson, Director of Guidance, Navigation, and Control for Astrobotic.

The helicopter flight is one of a series of flights to occur over the next few months. These flights will verify performance of the underlying hardware and software. When the software has reached stability with predictable performance, it will be tasked to land the helicopter by itself -- without GPS. Astrobotic's landing sensor uses two cameras, an inertial measurement unit, and a scanning laser.

"The pair of cameras work together like human eyes to measure distance and track motion. The scanning laser gives precise distance measurements and enables us to pick out hazards as small as a curb. The sensor combines these sensors with an inertial measurement unit -- the device that enables smartphones to switch from landscape to portrait mode-- to build its models," Peterson explained.

The program will exhibit terrain relative navigation, which enables precise landing on planetary bodies without GPS. The spacecraft will autonomously compare imagery captured from cameras with maps from satellite imagery to determine its location. This technology will revolutionize access to planetary surfaces through a 100-fold increase in the accuracy of planetary landings.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Google Lunar X PRIZE. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Google Lunar X PRIZE. "Asteroid and moon landing technology demonstrated." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 April 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405064241.htm>.
Google Lunar X PRIZE. (2013, April 5). Asteroid and moon landing technology demonstrated. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 1, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405064241.htm
Google Lunar X PRIZE. "Asteroid and moon landing technology demonstrated." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130405064241.htm (accessed April 1, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Universe Could Be Full Of Tatooine Sunsets

The Universe Could Be Full Of Tatooine Sunsets

Newsy (Mar. 30, 2015) — University of Utah researchers say mathematical simulations show small, rocky planets, like Tatooine from "Star Wars," can form in dual-star systems. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

What NASA Wants To Learn From Its 'Year In Space' Tests

Newsy (Mar. 28, 2015) — Astronaut Scott Kelly and cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend a year in space running tests on human physiology and psychology. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Astronauts Arrive at ISS for 1-Year Mission

Raw: Astronauts Arrive at ISS for 1-Year Mission

AP (Mar. 28, 2015) — The capsule carrying a Russian and an American who are to spend a year away from Earth docked Saturday with the International Space Station. (March 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Crew Starts One-Year Space Mission

Reuters - News Video Online (Mar. 28, 2015) — Russian-U.S. crew arrives safely at the International Space Station for the start of a ground-breaking year-long stay. Paul Chapman reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins