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Proceedings Paper

Helicopter flight test of 3D imaging flash LIDAR technology for safe, autonomous, and precise planetary landing
Author(s): Vincent Roback; Alexander Bulyshev; Farzin Amzajerdian; Robert Reisse
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Paper Abstract

Two flash lidars, integrated from a number of cutting-edge components from industry and NASA, are lab characterized and flight tested for determination of maximum operational range under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project (in its fourth development and field test cycle) which is seeking to develop a guidance, navigation, and control (GNC) and sensing system based on lidar technology capable of enabling safe, precise crewed or robotic landings in challenging terrain on planetary bodies under any ambient lighting conditions. The flash lidars incorporate pioneering 3-D imaging cameras based on Indium-Gallium-Arsenide Avalanche Photo Diode (InGaAs APD) and novel micro-electronic technology for a 128 x 128 pixel array operating at 30 Hz, high pulse-energy 1.06 μm Nd:YAG lasers, and high performance transmitter and receiver fixed and zoom optics. The two flash lidars are characterized on the NASA-Langley Research Center (LaRC) Sensor Test Range, integrated with other portions of the ALHAT GNC system from partner organizations into an instrument pod at NASA-JPL, integrated onto an Erickson Aircrane Helicopter at NASA-Dryden, and flight tested at the Edwards AFB Rogers dry lakebed over a field of humanmade geometric hazards during the summer of 2010. Results show that the maximum operational range goal of 1 km is met and exceeded up to a value of 1.2 km. In addition, calibrated 3-D images of several hazards are acquired in realtime for later reconstruction into Digital Elevation Maps (DEM’s).

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 June 2013
PDF: 20 pages
Proc. SPIE 8731, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XVIII, 87310H (4 June 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2015961
Show Author Affiliations
Vincent Roback, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Alexander Bulyshev, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. (United States)
Farzin Amzajerdian, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Robert Reisse, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8731:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications XVIII
Monte D. Turner; Gary W. Kamerman, Editor(s)

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