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A flying testbed built by one of the seat-of-the-pants startups that hopes to revolutionize spaceflight has given an experimental flight-control system its first free-range checkout.Draper LabThe Xombie vertical takeoff and landing rocket built by Masten Space Systems flew up to an altitude of 164 feet over California's Mojave Air and Space Port, traversed 164 lateral feet and landed on another pad after 67 seconds of flight.Click here for a video of the flight.The Xombie was guided by the Guidance Embedded Navigator Integration Environment (Genie) under development by Draper Laboratory, which hired Masten to check it out in flight. Genie got its first high-fidelity test on an earlier tethered flight of the Xombie.Draper LabDraper is developing the precision landing guidance, navigation and control system jointly with NASA's Johnson Space Center, which hopes to use the technology for hazard avoidance in autonomous spacecraft landings on moons, asteroids and other celestial bodies.
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