Xombie rocket has private spaceflight guts, brains by Draper Labs

Making a rocket engine isn't that hard: you can do it at home with some Diet Coke and Mentos. It's getting the rocket to go where you want it to that's the tricky part. Private spaceflight companies are in the same boat, so they've asked the guys who came up with the guidance computer for the Apollo program for help.

Draper Labs was still a part of MIT when its team developed the Apollo Guidance Computer back in the early 1960s, and Draper hasn't been slacking since it was spun off into its own thing in 1973. Recently, the company started testing a guidance system for unmanned rockets called GENIE (Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment) on a private rocket developed by Masten Space Systems, and as the video below shows, GENIE has no problem directing the rocket from takeoff to a stable hover to a safe precision landing.

NASA is hoping that long term, Masten's Xombie rocket (actually the "XA-0.1B" but they call it Xombie for short) along with the GENIE system might be able to be used to test payloads destined for the moon or Mars. It's one thing to simulate how such payloads might handle a planetary landing on a computer or in an airplane, but to really make sure that they're up to snuff, a rocket testbed that can accurately mimic the entire landing sequence would be very handy to have around.

But you know what? Forget about all that. We don't really have to justify the importance of a rocket video to you, do we? Check it out, below.

Masten Space, via Draper Labs

For the latest tech stories, follow DVICE on Twitter
at @dvice or find us on Facebook