Saturday, January 5, 2008

SpaceDev launches their prototype lunar lander

SpaceDev a Poway, Calif.-based firm successfully launched their prototype lunar lander. The craft rose approximately 35 feet (10.7 meters) into the air on a tether, where it hovered before descending for a careful landing. The purpose of the test was to check the lander's propulsion system. The experiment represents the first ever successful test for a hybrid rocket powered lander vehicle. SpaceDev's lander has four hybrid rocket motors that contain both solid and liquid fuel — a combination of non-explosive materials that supposedly reduces the chance for accidents. The liquid fuel allows for throttling by controlling fuel flow and acceleration and the solid fuel makes the craft safer. The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) is working with SpaceDev to eventually land a spacecraft on the south pole of the Moon for astrophysics and communication research. The lander has many future applications including allowing for much more control and maneuverability for moon and possible other missions.

The Fool

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