NASA spacecraft to land like helicopters

In an attempt to enable its future space capsules to land like helicopters, NASA has tested a new rotor landing system. The objective is to replace parachutes with spinning blades to enable soft and controlled landings on land instead of the ocean.

  • The rotor re-entry and landing system is designed for capsule-inspired spacecraft like the Orion Multipurpose Crew Vehicle that should fly before the end of the decade.
  • The landing system’s process is called auto-rotation, and while it’s been proven on helicopters it’s never been tried on spacecraft.
  • The biggest challenge being faced by design Engineers getting is getting the blades deployed the right way.

About "Orion" Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV)

  • A planned beyond-low-earth-orbit manned spacecraft.
  • The MPCV’s debut unmanned multi-hour test flight, known as Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), is scheduled for a launch aboard a Delta IV Heavy rocket in 2014.
  • The first manned mission is expected to take place after 2020.
  • The MPCV is being developed for crewed missions to the moon, an asteroid and then to Mars.



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