Monday, March 27, 2017

2017-03-27: Maiden Voyage of the First OWLETS Vehicle

Zak Johns assembles the Hive vehicles in front of the Lunar Lander Research Facility.
Our OWLETS (Ozone Water Land Environmental Transition Survey) atmospheric science mission is moving forward after our visit to the CBBT earlier this month— last week, we flew a Hive vehicle outside for the first time, complete with the full atmospheric sensor suite.

Mounting the ozone sensor to the top of the Hive

Because the sensor package is uniquely shaped compared to our previous research packages (it's tall, and mounted on the top of the vehicle instead of the bottom), we ran these test flights as very short missions to observe the vehicle in-flight. If the sensor affects the flight behavior of the vehicle at all, it's important to find out now so we can mitigate it right away. Longer tests are scheduled for next week, but so far, the vehicle flies beautifully.

Look at that stability!
The atmospheric science team also used the opportunity to test the sensors. Even from the short couple of flights, the data stream looked reliable and accurate.

NASA scientist Guillaume Gronoff examines the ozone data.

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