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Photos of the Day: 'Dropship' Quadcopter to Lower Rover onto Mars

Wed, 07/09/2014 - 10:54am
ESA

The test platform is about 1 m by 1 m in size, with 41 cm diameter rotors. Its total lift-off mass is about 16.8 kg, with the dropship weighing 13.2 kg and the rover 3.6 kg. Maximum flight time is limited to about 15 minutes due to battery capacity.

The 'dropship' quadcopter and mockup rover are used for testing the ESA's latest StarTiger project, Dropter. The dropship has to steer itself to lower a rover gently onto a safe patch of the rocky martian surface. 

Read: Dropter Project Demonstrates Precision-Landing Capabilities

Starting from scratch for the eight-month project, the Dropter team was challenged to produce vision-based navigation and hazard detection and avoidance for the dropship. 

StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets. The team was hosted at Airbus Defence & Space’s facility in Bremen, Germany, joined by engineers from the German R

StarTiger’s Dropter project was tasked with developing and demonstrating a European precision-landing capability for Mars and other targets. The team was hosted at Airbus Defence & Space’s facility in Bremen, Germany, joined by engineers from the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Portgual’s Spin.Works aeronautics company, and Poland’s Poznań University of Technology Institute of Control and Information Engineering.

For more information, visit www.esa.int.

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