Draper Multi-Environment Navigator (DMEN) Suborbital Rocket Campaign

PI: Brett Streetman, Courtney Mario (Co-I), Draper Laboratory Inc.

Draper has developed a leading vision navigation solution, the Draper Multi-Environment Navigator (DMEN). The development of DMEN, funded by a number of agencies including the U.S. Army, DARPA, and NASA, has shown a high degree of success operating in relevant environments including guided precision parachute delivery, high-speed, near-ground UAV flight, and mock ISS capsules. DMEN is currently performing a high-altitude balloon campaign funded by the Flight Opportunities program, with the stated goal of pushing DMEN and its associated algorithms and software further towards becoming a viable Entry, Descent, and Landing (EDL) navigation platform. This suborbital rocket test campaign will bring DMEN to higher altitudes and faster velocities that are more representative of lunar descent trajectory. As Draper is a prime contractor for the CLPS program, this test campaign has the potential to feed directly into future NASA lunar exploration.

This work is a continuation of T0195.

Technology Areas (?)
  • TA09 Entry, Descent and Landing Systems
Problem Statement

As exploration reaches farther into our solar system, both human missions and a multitude of smaller craft will need to perform EDL to complete their mission. A small, reliable navigation package is a necessary technology. The objective of this experiment is to collect in-environment data from a high altitude while running algorithms.

Technology Maturation

The Draper package has achieved TRL 6-7 for both ground and low-altitude operations, but the descent portion of EDL is at TRL 4 until it can be tested in a relevant environment. Suborbital flights will allow for the collection and validation of algorithms in this environment, which would advance the system to TRL 5.

Future Customers

NASA missions, notably Artemis—DMEN algorithms are planned for use in Commercial Lunar Payload Services flights.
Human and robotic missions that include a landing component.

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights19 (Oct 2019)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

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