Exploration Vision

Exploration Vision

Read more about NASA's plan to explore the moon, Mars and beyond.

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Moon and Mars

The moon, seen from the International Space Station

NASA is moving forward with a new focus for the manned space program.

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In the next few decades, NASA intends to deepen our understanding of the solar system.

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Robotic Lander Test Bed

    Objectives
    • Provide a physical, tangible demonstration of capabilities related to the critical terminal descent/landing phase for an airless body mission
    • Allow for evaluation of flight-like components of hardware and software in a real, integrated system
    • Define and prove processes and interactions of the diverse, distributed team and obtain “lessons learned” before the flight build
    • Train and engage young engineers with hands-on experience

    The Warm Gas Test Article (WGTA) provides a platform to develop and test algorithms, sensors, avionics, software, landing legs, and integrated system elements to support autonomous landings on airless bodies, where aero-braking and parachutes are not options. Illustration of the Warm Gas Test Article (WGTA). Credits: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
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    Warm Gas Test Article (WGTA)
    Provides a platform to develop and test algorithms, sensors, avionics, software, landing legs, and integrated system elements to support autonomous landings on airless bodies, where aero-braking and parachutes are not options.









    The Cold Gas Test Article (CGTA) served as a precursor to the WGTA and provided a platform for algorithm development and testing, short-duration (10-s) flights, and autonomously controlled descent. Cold Gas Test Article (CGTA). Credits: David Higginbotham, NASA Marshall
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    Cold Gas Test Article (CGTA)
    Served as a precursor to the WGTA and provided a platform for algorithm development and testing, short-duration (10-s) flights, and autonomously controlled descent.









    Warm Gas Test Article Capabilities:
    • Demonstrates autonomously controlled terminal descent phase
    • Designed to emulate robotic flight lander design’s sensor suite, software environment, avionics processors, GN&C algorithms, ground control software, composite decks, and landing legs
    • Approx. 1 min. flight duration and descends from 30 meters to support complex algorithm testing
    • Can accommodate 3U or 6U size processor boards
    • Incorporates Core Flight Executive (cFE) operating environment that allows for modular software applications
    • 12-thruster ACS configuration with option to fire only 6 ACS thrusters. Provides capability to support testing of hazard avoidance or precision landing algorithms. Emulates pulse or throttle system.
    • Gravity off-set thruster can be set to different g levels to emulate descent onto various airless bodies.


    WGTA Wind Tunnel Testing: Completed wind tunnel testing of WGTA model to maximize hardware and personnel safety. Testing occurred in June 2010 and simulated both horizontal and vertical flights.Completed wind tunnel testing of WGTA model to maximize hardware and personnel safety. Testing occurred in June 2010 and simulated both horizontal and vertical flights. Credits: Texas A&M
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More Information

Career Corner

In the News

Contact Information

    Members of the media, please contact:
    Kimberly Newton
    Marshall Space Flight Ctr.
    256-544-0034
    kimberly.d.newton@nasa.gov

    For other questions about the robotic lander, please click here.