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NASA has nothing on these moon-bound robots

RATE THIS! +37
Posted in Science on 30th Jun, 2014 01:03 AM by AlexMuller
Astrobotic’s autonomous Autolanding System successfully directed a suborbital rocket called the Xombie (pronounced zombie, in case you’re wondering) to perform a simulated moon landing remotely and without astronauts at the controls at a remote landing strip in the desert of Southern California.
 
This is a big deal as the race to privatize space continues unabated, witness the Herculean efforts of Elon Musk and ,to a lesser extent, Richard Branson, and small space companies like Astrobotic, based in Pittsburgh, are leading the charge.
 
While NASA supplied and paid for the rocket, it was Astrobotic chief executive John Thornton and his small team that designed the landing system and installed it on the NASA rocket. Incredibly, the Autolanding System vectored the craft to a soft landing while intuitively avoiding simulated “space” debris on the landing field in the Mojave Desert. All on its own.
 
“We bolted the guidance system to the rocket, it went up to 250 meters, and then simulated a lunar trajectory down to the surface, just as if it were landing on the moon,” Thornton told VentureBeat. Astrobotic’s chief tech guru Kevin Peterson elaborated.
 
“Conceptually, this is like the Apollo missions where the astronauts navigated to a safe landing by looking out the window of the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module),” he said. “In this case, we have an onboard computer instead of an astronaut, and the cameras, IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit), and software are so precise that they can track the craft’s location to within a few meters.”

Tags: MoonNASAspacelunar landerXPrizeprivate spaceflight

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+3
Astrobotic could be an important parter for NASA and another good example how private companies can make great contribution to space explorations. Great
1 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+1
Astrobotic must be more than thrilled at the successful landing. This is a huge step to privatize commercial space landings on the moon. Astrobotic’s Autolanding System took only eight months to design. Amazing!
Reply
Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+2
Great boost for space explorations. Moon is our natural target, so close and yet we should know so much more about it
5 Replies
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+2
The big idea here is for creating a robotic service to deliver payloads to the moon- if successful, this will be the first international commercial mission bringing unmanned payloads to the moon Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+1
Interest in moon is getting more intense and it is clear that we expect that will help our life on Earth. As technology has advanced, and concerns about the future of humanity on Earth have increased, the argument that space colonization is an achievable and worthwhile goal has gained momentum Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+1
Some believe that there are trillions of dollars of
mineral resources on the moon waiting to be exploited The moon has more exploitable mineral resources than the earth. On earth we can only mine a thin slice of the crust due but on the moon this is much less of a problem. Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2014-06-30
+0
Everything we fight about on Earth, all the resources are available in infinite quantities in space! But bringing it to Earth is not yet possible Reply
Reply


 

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