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Masten Space flies Xombie to 500 meters

27 Jul 2012, 08:00 UTC
Masten Space flies Xombie to 500 meters
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Here's a video of a flight of the Masten Space Xombie vehicle. They were doing a test for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)** to test the powered descent and landing trajectory optimization algorithms for future Mars Entry Descent & Landing (EDL) applications. It is the first EDL style trajectory carried out on a terrestrial vertical takeoff and vertical landing testbed. Masten's native Guidance, Navigation & Control system controlled Xombie as it followed the JPL-provided Mars landing trajectory.

From the video caption, here is a description of the landing: After successful completion of the trajectory, we lost visual contact when a large dust plume obstructed the landing site camera's view and thought the vehicle had already landed. In accordance with Masten safety procedures, we turned the engine off. Turns out we were a couple feet off the deck. Don't worry though, Xombie is currently standing up in the shop and won't miss her next scheduled flight.

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