NASA Tests Flight Control for Space Launch System Using an F-18; Tannen VanZwieten Comments

SLSNASA has moved to test an autonomous flight control system intended to help adapt the agency’s space launch system rocket to environmental changes for crew safety.

The Adaptive Augmenting Controller technology works for the SLS to adjust to varying vehicular and environmental conditions during space launch, NASA said Tuesday.

The system is NASA’s first autonomous controller for the SLS rocket, the agency says.

NASA used an F/A-18 research jet for the test flight at the Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., on Nov. 14 to 15, during which the agency performed 40 evaluations on the system under different situations.

“By flying a high-performance F/A-18 jet in a manner similar to our rocket, we’re able to simulate SLS’s flight conditions and improve our software,” said Tannen VanZwieten, SLS flight controls working group lead.

VanZwieten added that NASA intends to use the adaptive system to extend SLS capabilities.

NASA plans to test fly the SLS in 2017.

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