New Propulsion System for Robotic LanderPrototype

NASA’s Robotic Lunar Lander Development Project at Marshall Space Flight Center has completed a series of hot fire tests and taken delivery of a new propulsion system for integration into a more sophisticated free-flying autonomous robotic lander prototype. The project is partnered with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory to develop a new generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers to achieve scientific and exploration goals on the surface of the moon and near-Earth asteroids.The new robotic lander prototype will continue to mature the development of a robotic lander capability by bringing online an autonomous flying test lander that will be capable of flying up to sixty seconds, testing the guidance, navigation and control system by demonstrating a controlled landing in a simulated low gravity environment.

By the spring of 2011, the new prototype lander will begin flight tests at the U.S. Army’s Redstone Arsenal Test Center. The prototype’s new propulsion system consists of 12 small attitude control thrusters, three primary descent thrusters to control the vehicle’s altitude, and one large “gravity-canceling” thruster which offsets a portion of the prototype’s weight to simulate a lower gravity environment, like that of the moon and asteroids. The prototype uses a green propellant, hydrogen peroxide, ina stronger concentration of a solution commonly used in homes as a disinfectant. The by-products after use are water and oxygen.

The propulsion hardware acceptance test consisted of a series of tests that verified the performance of each thruster in the propulsion system. The series culminated in a test that characterized the entire system by running a scripted set of thruster firings based on a flight scenario simulation.
The propulsion system is currently at Teledyne Brown’s manufacturing facility in Huntsville, for integration with the structure and avionics to complete the new robotic lander prototype. Dynetics Corp. developed the robotic lander prototype propulsion system under the management of the Von Braun Center for Science andInnovation both located in Huntsville,

This is the second phase of a robotic lander prototype development program. Our initial “cold gas” prototype was built, delivered and successfully flight tested at the Marshall Center in a record nine months, providing a physical and tangible demonstration of capabilities related to the critical terminal descent and landing phases for an airless body mission.

The first robotic lander prototype has a record flight time of ten seconds and descended from three meters altitude. This first robotic lander prototype began flight tests in September 2009 and has completed 142 flight tests, providing a platform to develop and test algorithms, sensors, avionics, ground and flight software and ground systems to support autonomous landings on airless bodies, whereaero-braking and parachutes are not option.

[Source: Nasa]

About bruceleeeowe
An engineering student and independent researcher. I'm researching and studying quantum physics(field theories). Also searching for alien life.

2 Responses to New Propulsion System for Robotic LanderPrototype

  1. mike says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for about a year and it’s always been some fascinating reading. Your new look for your website is also a nice change. But, the black text on the black w/black-gray background is extremely difficult to read. I don’t know if it’s my browser’s(IE 8) settings or not. If you have any suggestions on how to make things easier to read please post them. Until then keep up the good work and I hope to read many many more insightful and interesting articles!

  2. mike says:

    Scratch that last comment. my browser didn’t load the page correctly and I thought you changed your whole website layout. sorry bout that

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