Designed and developed entirely internally, Masten’s Guidance, Navigation and Control software controls VTVL vehicles through thrust vector control, engine throttling, and roll control thrusters.
Using MATLAB, C/C++, and Simulink, Masten’s GN&C engineers have developed a highly adaptable system, easily integratable with other Guidance and Navigation solutions. Using state-of-the-art autocoding techniques and taking inputs from multiple sources, Masten’s rockets have demonstrated X-Prize winning pinpoint landing precision.
Masten’s GN&C system is unique in that it performs dynamic control of a throttleable rocket platform to such a fine degree that our launch vehicles can hover in place, translate, and follow complex trajectories. The system has demonstrated the repeatability of landings within centimeters of our target points after significant translation.
Used and enhanced on multiple vehicles, including single and multi-engine platforms, the controller can target a specific location at a specific velocity and will optimize the path in terms of time and fuel efficiency to reach that point. The system currently controls the vehicle with thrust vector control and roll control thrusters, and additional controls for aerodynamic surfaces are currently being added.
At the same time the GN&C system was developed, an extremely in-depth simulator was developed and tested. Masten models all flight profiles prior to free flight extremely effectively – to the point where there has never been a free flight that has deviated from it’s profile. The software supports multiple hard (thrust termination) and soft (automatic landing) abort scenarios, depending on trigger criteria. A custom autonomous flight safety system that monitors the vehicle’s position and compares the results to expected vehicle position is currently being integrated.