Astrobotic's Xodiac Completes First Night Flight in Preparation for NASA's TechLeap Challenge

Astrobotic's Xodiac Completes First Night Flight in Preparation for NASA's TechLeap Challenge

Astrobotic’s Propulsion & Test department flew Xodiac, a vertical-takeoff, vertical-landing (VTVL) reusable terrestrial rocket, for its first-ever night flight. The tethered night test prepared Xodiac for upcoming flight testing with the NASA TechLeap Prize’s Nighttime Precision Landing Challenge, managed by NASA’s Flight Opportunities program. 

TechLeap is designed to rapidly identify and develop technologies of interest to the agency using a series of challenges, and the Nighttime Precision Landing Challenge will test the ability of three winning payloads to map a lunar surface for navigation in near-total darkness.

Flights for TechLeap are slated to begin in April, continuing Xodiac’s flight heritage of over 160 successful flights. The Nighttime Precision Landing Challenge flights will also mark the debut of Astrobotic’s Lunar Surface Proving Ground (LSPG), a high-fidelity 3D test field that will mimic the topography and optical properties of the Moon’s surface. The size of two football fields, the LSPG will provide a unique simulated lunar topography to enhance the realism of payload flight tests aboard Xodiac.

“We’ve been rigorous in our preparations for the TechLeap flights,” said David Masten, Chief Engineer for Astrobotic’s Propulsion & Test Department, “The teams will demonstrate their systems over the LSPG at night to simulate landing on the Moon during the lunar night or in shadowed craters.”

The winning challenge teams—the Bronco Space Club at Cal Poly Pomona, Falcon ExoDynamics, Inc., and the University of South Florida Institute of Applied Engineering—have developed promising systems to detect hazards from an altitude of at least 250 meters and process the data in real-time to help spacecraft land safely in the dark. Xodiac will provide these teams an opportunity to demonstrate their systems in a realistic night-flight environment aboard an actual rocket lander.

These TechLeap payload flights will be Xodiac’s first major flight campaign of 2024. Xodiac is also scheduled to fly campaigns this year for NASA’s TechRise Student Challenge, Draper, San Diego State University, and Astrobotic’s Robotics & Surface Systems department. The latter campaign will test Astrobotic’s novel hazard detection and avoidance system that will help guide its Griffin lander to a soft landing on the Moon’s south pole.

Click here to learn more about Astrobotic Technology's XODIAC VTVL Rocket Testbed.

Click here to learn more NASA TechLeap Prize's Nighttime Precision Landing Challenge.

Publisher: SatNow
Tags:-  SatelliteLaunchGround

GNSS Constellations - A list of all GNSS satellites by constellations


Satellite NameOrbit Date
BeiDou-3 G4Geostationary Orbit (GEO)17 May, 2023
BeiDou-3 G2Geostationary Orbit (GEO)09 Mar, 2020
Compass-IGSO7Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)09 Feb, 2020
BeiDou-3 M19Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M20Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)16 Dec, 2019
BeiDou-3 M21Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M22Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)23 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 I3Inclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Nov, 2019
BeiDou-3 M23Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019
BeiDou-3 M24Medium Earth Orbit (MEO)22 Sep, 2019


Satellite NameOrbit Date
GSAT0223MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0224MEO - Near-Circular05 Dec, 2021
GSAT0219MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0220MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0221MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0222MEO - Near-Circular25 Jul, 2018
GSAT0215MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0216MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0217MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017
GSAT0218MEO - Near-Circular12 Dec, 2017


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Kosmos 2569--07 Aug, 2023
Kosmos 2564--28 Nov, 2022
Kosmos 2559--10 Oct, 2022
Kosmos 2557--07 Jul, 2022
Kosmos 2547--25 Oct, 2020
Kosmos 2545--16 Mar, 2020
Kosmos 2544--11 Dec, 2019
Kosmos 2534--27 May, 2019
Kosmos 2529--03 Nov, 2018
Kosmos 2527--16 Jun, 2018


Satellite NameOrbit Date
Navstar 82Medium Earth Orbit19 Jan, 2023
Navstar 81Medium Earth Orbit17 Jun, 2021
Navstar 78Medium Earth Orbit22 Aug, 2019
Navstar 77Medium Earth Orbit23 Dec, 2018
Navstar 76Medium Earth Orbit05 Feb, 2016
Navstar 75Medium Earth Orbit31 Oct, 2015
Navstar 74Medium Earth Orbit15 Jul, 2015
Navstar 73Medium Earth Orbit25 Mar, 2015
Navstar 72Medium Earth Orbit29 Oct, 2014
Navstar 71Medium Earth Orbit02 Aug, 2014


Satellite NameOrbit Date
NVS-01Geostationary Orbit (GEO)29 May, 2023
IRNSS-1IInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)12 Apr, 2018
IRNSS-1HSub Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (Sub-GTO)31 Aug, 2017
IRNSS-1GGeostationary Orbit (GEO)28 Apr, 2016
IRNSS-1FGeostationary Orbit (GEO)10 Mar, 2016
IRNSS-1EGeosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)20 Jan, 2016
IRNSS-1DInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)28 Mar, 2015
IRNSS-1CGeostationary Orbit (GEO)16 Oct, 2014
IRNSS-1BInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)04 Apr, 2014
IRNSS-1AInclined Geosynchronous Orbit (IGSO)01 Jul, 2013