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NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar Bound for Moon Onboard Intuitive Machine’s Nova-C Spacecraft

Extraterrestrial landing

NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar Bound for Moon Onboard Intuitive Machine’s Nova-C Spacecraft

Houston-based aerospace company Intuitive Machines will launch its Nova-C lunar lander in February, carrying NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar along with other payloads.

Developed by the Langley Research Center, the NDL is designed to support spacecraft landing on extraterrestrial surfaces using light detection and ranging technology instead of traditional radar-based landing systems, potentially improving accuracy. As part of the launch, NASA will demonstrate NDL’s capabilities in the lunar environment.

The anticipated demonstration comes 20 years after Farzin Amzajerdian, NDL program manager at Langley, proposed the LiDAR-based system, NASA said.

The payload launch, initially announced in December, follows other actions from NASA focused on lunar landing and other space missions.

In January, the space agency released the outcomes of the 2023 Moon to Mars Architecture Concept Review, which includes white papers on potential lunar landing sites and round-trip challenges for crewed Mars missions. The lunar and Martian exploration white papers include NASA’s moon to Mars process framework, documents on frequently discussed exploration subjects and approaches for the first manned Mars missions.

NASA said it will continue refining its moon to Mars architecture annually and solicit more insights about the concepts presented to the agency in 2023. NASA will also hold workshops on its lunar and Martian objectives in 2024.

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Category: Space

Tags: Farzin Amzajerdian Intuitive Machines lunar exploration NASA Navigation Doppler Lidar Nova-C space spacecraft landing support