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NASA's Robotic Prototype Lander Takes 100-ft Free Flight
The Mighty Eagle, a NASA robotic prototype lander, sailed to an altitude of 100 feet during a successful free flight on August 28th at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. During the 35-second run, the vehicle was "open loop" - navigating autonomously without the command of the onboard camera and flying on a preprogrammed flight profile. Once it reached the 100-foot mark, the Mighty Eagle identified a new, larger target on the ground about 100 feet away, took pictures, processed the images, and safely landed. The test was part of a new series of free flights testing the robotic prototype lander's autonomous rendezvous and capture capabilities. "We met our goal for this flight, which was to test the new software at triple the height of our last flight," said Dr. Greg Chavers, Mighty Eagle test lead at the Marshall Center.
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