Watch Blue Origin test a sensor system that will help NASA land on the moon


The main payload will be the SPLICE (Safe and Precise Landing — Integrated Capabilities Evolution) technologies developed by NASA and partners for future Moon and Mars missions. NASA will test two of the three sensors, including a “terrain relative navigation” system that can determine the rocket’s position by comparing camera images to pre-loaded surface maps. The second system is a navigation Doppler LiDAR that will allow for precise, soft landings. Together, they’ll help NASA make automated landings on the moon, even in tight spots near craters or hills.

While some of the sensors have flown before individually, this is the first time that two of the systems will be tested at once in sub-orbital space. “Testing SPLICE technologies on a suborbital rocket expands the envelope beyond previous lab tests, helicopter field tests, and lower-altitude suborbital rocket tests,” said NASA manager John Carson. “We will get more data about the system to anchor analyses and models and support follow-on adjustments, testing, and development.”

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