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NASA Engineers Test Blue Origin’s Lunar Navigation Tech

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Lunar Descent Simulation
Lunar Descent Simulation NASA Photo

A team of NASA engineers has tested the geographical image identification and processing functions of a navigation system from aerospace company Blue Origin during a lunar surface landing simulation exercise as part of a public-private partnership. 

NASA said Wednesday it integrated the aerospace company's BlueNav-L technology with agency-made navigation software for the test activity and demonstrated the potential of the system to determine a lander’s position when touching down on the moon's south pole.

The live simulation follows October tests of algorithms, two precision landing sensors and a computer on Blue Origin’s suborbital rocket, New Shepard, under the agency's Tipping Point program.

For the recent test, agency engineers used navigation algorithms that were built upon the Lander Vision System created at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

LVS is designed to identify a possible landing area between hazards based on orbital data from the sensor and support computation of a spacecraft position.

NASA added that LVS is similar to technology the agency expects to help the Perseverance rover land on Mars as part of an exploration mission.