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Saturday, October 16, 2010

Draper Wins NASA Contract for Lunar Landing Data

Draper Laboratory received a NASA contract worth up to $10 million to provide the space agency with data to assist its development of future human and robotic lander vehicles and exploration systems.

Draper was among six companies that received an Innovative Lander Demonstration Data (ILDD) contract from NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) on Oct. 15.

Draper is leading an industry team for the ILDD work that is entered in the Google Lunar X Prize (GLXP), a competition to land a vehicle on the Moon’s surface.  Draper is leading the development of the guidance, navigation, and control for the Next Giant Leap team, and is building a test bed of a vehicle that could win the GLXP competition by landing on the Moon, hopping 500 meters, and transmitting video, pictures, and other data back to Earth.

According to the NASA website, the ILDD contracts are intended to “contribute to NASA’s efforts to enable affordable and sustainable space exploration” by helping the agency gather data associated with system testing and integration, launch, in-space maneuvers, braking burns, lunar landing and other enhanced capabilities. This data is intended to assist the development of lander systems for human and robotic missions to the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, and other destinations.

Draper is also part of the Rocket City Space Pioneers GLXP team led by Dynetics Inc. of Huntsville, AL., that received an ILDD contract award from NASA. Draper’s Huntsville office is leading the guidance, navigation, and control system development for the Rocket City Space Pioneers team.

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