Monday, June 14, 2010

JPL's Next Mars Rover Landing Radar Tested at Dryden



Testing for the JPL-managed Mars Science Laboratory or MSL project included suspending a full-scale engineering model of the MSL rover from a helicopter and flying pre-planned flight trajectories over Rogers Dry Lake at Edwards to simulate the rover's descent stage carrying the rover to the surface of Mars. JPL engineers needed to verify that the radar will provide accurate altitude and velocity measurements at Mars and that the suspended rover will not confuse the ability of the descent stage's radar to accurately calculate the rover's descent speed for a safe, on-target landing.

"Dryden offers a unique location to perform testing of this kind," said Carrie Rhoades, the Dryden flight operations engineer managing the MSL project at Dryden. "We have restricted airspace and a large dry lakebed that is useful in simulating several Mars-like features. Dryden is also conveniently close to JPL, so troubleshooting the system and fixing any issues has been relatively easy to accomplish," she said.

1 comment:

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