Photo: Chuang (NASA/MSFC)
Here’s what’s new in technology development in the Space Launch Initiative
OnStar for space vehicles? Flight Mechanics Office tests an integrated navigation system for a reusable launch vehicle
In today’s technology, the push of the OnStar button in your car can connect you to a representative who is ready to assist you with directions to a specific address, offer a list of nearby restaurants, or just tell you your car’s location. Tomorrow’s technology is aiming to provide all that and more with onboard guidance and navigation for space vehicles.
A moving array of components in a laboratory at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., is being tested by the Flight Mechanics Office to develop an integrated navigation system for second generation reusable launch vehicles. The laboratory is testing Global Positioning System (GPS) components a satellite-based location and navigation system and Inertial Navigation System (INS) components sensors on a vehicle that determine angular velocity and linear acceleration at various points. By testing various GPS and INS components, engineers will be able to learn the strengths and weaknesses of each component.
Following testing of the individual components, the GPS and INS components will be tested together to determine the best pair suitable for a reusable launch vehicle.
The GPS and INS components work together to provide a space vehicle with guidance and navigation. The integration will enable the vehicle operating system to track where the vehicle is in space and define its trajectory.
The use of INS components for navigation is not new to space technology the Space Shuttle currently uses them. However, Space Launch Initiative is expanding the technology to integrate GPS and INS components to allow the vehicle to better define its position and more accurately determine vehicle acceleration and velocity. This advanced technology will lower operational cost and enhance the safety of reusable launch vehicles by providing a more comprehensive navigation system with greater capabilities.
For more information, please contact June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional news and information on the Space Launch Initiative, please see these recent news releases:
- Stennis Space Center to begin Boeing Rocketdyne RS-83 preburner testing; 9/20/02; available at:
- NASA Fact Sheet: Main engine candidates for a second generation reusable launch vehicle; September 2002; available at:
- Virtual propulsion system meets real-time diagnostic system; 8/13/02; available at:
- NASA Space Launch Initiative’s next generation reusable launch vehicle may fly on kerosene; 8/5/02; available at:
Note to Editors/News Directors: The Space Launch Initiative Media Update is a regular progress report to keep you informed about the technology development activities of the program. Interviews and photos supporting the Space Launch Initiative are available to news media representatives by contacting June Malone at the Marshall Media Relations Department at (256) 544-0034. For more information, visit the Space Launch Initiative on the Web at:
http://www.slinews.com/ or http://www.spacetransportation.com/
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