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NASA's next generation of small, smart, versatile robotic landers (pictures)

Free-flying robotic lander successfully demonstrates NASA's advanced automated rendezvous and capture technology.

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James Martin
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1 of 5 NASA/David Higginbotham

Mighty Eagle robotic lander prototype

NASA says Mighty Eagle's guidance, navigation and control software could aid in the capture of orbiting space debris, in-space docking with a fuel depot, docking of a robotic lander with an orbiting command module, and the rendezvous of multiple unmanned stages for deep space human exploration of the solar system.
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2 of 5 NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

Engineers perpare 'Mighty Eagle' for flight

Marshall Center engineers Logan Kennedy, right, and Adam Lacock check out the lander prototype, dubbed the Mighty Eagle.
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3 of 5 NASA/MSFC/Fred Deaton

Flight tests at Marshall Space Flight Center

The Mighty Eagle robotic prototype lander is being tested near historic Saturn-IC Static and F-1 test stands at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
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4 of 5 NASA/MSFC

Mighty Eagle floats in first successful untethered flight

After undergoing significant upgrades to the guidance controls on the lander's camera, furthering its autonomous capabilities, the Mighty Eagle a NASA robotic prototype lander, had a successful first untethered flight this week at the Marshall Center. During the 34-second flight, Mighty Eagle soared and hovered at 30 feet, moved sideways, looked for its target, and safely landed on the launchpad.
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5 of 5 NASA/MSFC

Fuel

The three-legged "green" lander is fueled by 90 percent pure hydrogen peroxide and receives its commands from an onboard computer that activates its onboard thrusters to carry it to a controlled landing.

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