NASA successfully flight tested Prandtl-d, prototype of first Mars airplane (Download PDF)


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The NASA (Naional Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced that it successfully flight tested Prandtl-d aircraft. Prandtl was developed by NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Centre and it stands for the Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Land on Mars.

  • It is a prototype of the Prandtl-m aircraft, touted as the first airplane to be launched on Mars between 2020 and 2024.
  • Prandtl-m aircraft would be part of the ballast that would be ejected from the aeroshell that takes the Mars rover to the planet in the 2020s.
  • Prandtl-m aircraft 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 and 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.
  • By the help of Prandtl-m aircraft, it will send back to the Earth very detailed high resolution photographic map images that could tell scientists about the suitability of landing sites.

- Published/Last Modified on: July 7, 2015


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