NASA successfully flight tested Prandtl-d, prototype of first Mars airplane

Jul 3, 2015 12:00 IST

National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationThe National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on 30 June 2015 announced that it successfully flight tested Prandtl-d aircraft.

Prandtl stands for the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars and it was developed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre.

It is a prototype of the Prandtl-m aircraft, touted as the first airplane to be launched on Mars between 2020 and 2024.

Key features of Prandtl-m aircraft

• It would be part of the ballast that would be ejected from the aeroshell that takes the Mars rover to the planet in the 2020s.
• It will be able to fly in the Martian atmosphere and glide down and land besides identifying some of the proposed landing sites for a future astronaut mission.
• It will send back to the Earth very detailed high resolution photographic map images that could tell scientists about the suitability of landing sites.
• It would have a flight time of around 10 minutes and would be gliding for the last 2000 feet to the surface of Mars and have a range of about 20 miles.
• Its wingspan, when it is deployed on the Mars, would measure 24 inches allowing it to fit in a 3U CubeSat. A CubeSat is a miniature satellite used for space research that is usually about four inches in each dimension and a 3U is three of those stacked together.
• In Martian atmosphere, it would weigh less than a pound (2.6 pounds on the earth as Mars gravity is 38 percent of what it is on Earth).
• It will be made of composite material, either fiberglass or carbon fiber in order to make it recover quickly from the unusual conditions of an ejection.

Prandtl-d, a flying wing aircraft with a twist, will undergo further flight tests in 2015 and 2016, results of which will be used in developing the Prandtl-m aircraft.

Now get latest Current Affairs on mobile, Download # 1 Current Affairs App

Is this article important for exams ? Yes18 People Agreed

Register to get FREE updates

    All Fields Mandatory
  • (Ex:9123456789)
  • Please Select Your Interest
  • Please specify

  • ajax-loader
  • A verifcation code has been sent to
    your mobile number

    Please enter the verification code below

This website uses cookie or similar technologies, to enhance your browsing experience and provide personalised recommendations. By continuing to use our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. OK