Mighty Eagle – small lander – drew the attention of engineers today, though really, NASA wants to test the software inside.
NASA Project Manager Greg Chavers explains, “This test does determine if the software can control the vehicle.”
It starts to fire on all cylinders, the first sign that we’re close, but the whole test illustrates a big part of NASA’s new direction.
Chavers adds, “We’re in a partnership now with Moon Express, a US industry company, and we’ve loaded their software into our vehicle. And they will be controlling the vehicle today.”
All parties involved lean toward the edges of their seats.
NASA wants their partnerships to work; Moon Express wants their software to work.
Eventually, the vehicle hoists itself of the ground – a show of scientific force itself.
Chavers says, “There are sixteen thrusters, on the vehicle, and this software, we can show that it’s stable, completely autonomous, there’s no one operating it with a joystick.”
But it’s also a show of the power of private public partnerships like this one.
NASA leaders tell us Moon Express wants to compete for Google prizes for private space missions.