Masten Xombie Technology

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, California ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port. Click to see the wider picture.  Image:  NASA/Masten

A Xombie technology demonstrator from Masten Space Systems, Mojave, California ascends from its pad at Mojave Air and Space Port. Click to see the wider picture. Image: NASA/Masten

Masten Space Systems tested a new “Xombie technology” experimental vertical-takeoff and landing rocket along collaboratively with the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center to test a new algorithm for “pinpoint” landing of spacecraft on other planets.

Masten was involved with the sky crane landing of Curiosity on Mars and judging from that the term “pinpoint” isn’t just hyperbole.

The wide shot might make a nice desktop you can get a full-res version here.

The press release from JPL:

A year after NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity’s landed on Mars, engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., are testing a sophisticated flight-control algorithm that could allow for even more precise, pinpoint landings of future Martian spacecraft.

Flight testing of the new Fuel Optimal Large Divert Guidance algorithm – G-FOLD for short – for planetary pinpoint landing is being conducted jointly by JPL engineers in cooperation with Masten Space Systems in Mojave, Calif., using Masten’s XA-0.1B “Xombie” vertical-launch, vertical-landing experimental rocket.

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