Xoie in the Wind

Here’s an old video from our 195s tethered flight the day before our NGLLC Level 2 competition slot.  Winds gusting past 30 knots, and it’s still rock solid.  If you count tethered flights, I think it’s the longest duration VTVL flight ever (longer than DC-X or Armadillo):

It just goes to show that while every landing for a VTVL vehicle is a crosswind landing, that’s not necessarily a showstopper.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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9 Responses to Xoie in the Wind

  1. Gary C Hudson says:

    Cross posted to Hobbyspace:

    One of the arguments from the 1970s and 1980s why VTOL landing on earth wouldn’t work was “how do you deal with winds?” This was repeated time and against by opponents of the idea and held out as one of the key showstoppers. In response, I pointed out that if you could take off in a particular wind condition you could land in the same wind condition, but simple logic was overwhelmed by emotion.

    Its delightful to see the refutation of this silliness flying!

  2. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    It would’ve been cooler if it had been a free-flight or a ground takeoff and landing. But yeah, it still does kind of “take the wind out of” that argument, to use a lame pun. The trickier part is dealing with high altitude winds, and making sure you have either enough lift or thrust to deal with it without having your vehicle miss your landing pad. But we haven’t gotten far enough into dealing with aerodynamics to know how difficult of a problem that will be. Maybe it’s a non-problem.


  3. Gary C Hudson says:

    The high altitude problem generally require flaps. At least, the trades have usually come out with flaps beating propulsive control. I like to combine the flaps and the gear doors, but each to their own tastes.

  4. Fantastic work.

    Did Ken or Ian write that software or was it someone else?

  5. Jonathan Goff Jonathan Goff says:

    IIIan wrote most of the ACS (attitude control system) code, with a little help from Dave and Joel on the OFMS and GFMS parts (on-board or ground flight management system), except the control loops on the servoactuators. The OFMS is what takes the raw commands from the ACS (hinge positions and throttle commands) and converts them into actual current flowing to motors. It also controls all the solenoids and pneumatic actuated valves, and gets all the sensor data. The GFMS is basically the pilot controls from the ground.


  6. O. Mandias says:


  7. A_M_Swallow says:

    NASA appears to be investigating a VASIMR tug to lunar orbit. A chemical propulsion lunar lander may be needed.

  8. AM,
    Yeah, if VASIMR works out (along with a power source with enough power density to make it useful), they’d still need a chemical lander for ascent/descent purposes. If VASIMR works, it is only really useable for in-space maneuvers–not for landing or ascending from planetary surfaces. Way too low of a system T/W for that.


  9. Ian says:


    Hahaha. Did you mean I wrote ALL of the GN&C? (ACS is just the name). Joel and Dave wrote the original GFMS and OFMS. Some professional pride at play here 😉


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