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Proceedings Paper

3D flash lidar performance in flight testing on the Morpheus autonomous, rocket-propelled lander to a lunar-like hazard field
Author(s): Vincent E. Roback; Farzin Amzajerdian; Alexander E. Bulyshev; Paul F. Brewster; Bruce W. Barnes
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Paper Abstract

For the first time, a 3-D imaging Flash Lidar instrument has been used in flight to scan a lunar-like hazard field, build a 3-D Digital Elevation Map (DEM), identify a safe landing site, and, in concert with an experimental Guidance, Navigation, and Control system, help to guide the Morpheus autonomous, rocket-propelled, free-flying lander to that safe site on the hazard field. The flight tests served as the TRL 6 demo of the Autonomous Precision Landing and Hazard Detection and Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) system and included launch from NASA-Kennedy, a lunar-like descent trajectory from an altitude of 250m, and landing on a lunar-like hazard field of rocks, craters, hazardous slopes, and safe sites 400m down-range. The ALHAT project developed a system capable of enabling safe, precise crewed or robotic landings in challenging terrain on planetary bodies under any ambient lighting conditions. The Flash Lidar is a second generation, compact, real-time, air-cooled instrument. Based upon extensive on-ground characterization at flight ranges, the Flash Lidar was shown to be capable of imaging hazards from a slant range of 1 km with an 8 cm range precision and a range accuracy better than 35 cm, both at 1-σ. The Flash Lidar identified landing hazards as small as 30 cm from the maximum slant range which Morpheus could achieve (450 m); however, under certain wind conditions it was susceptible to scintillation arising from air heated by the rocket engine and to pre-triggering on a dust cloud created during launch and transported down-range by wind.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2016
PDF: 20 pages
Proc. SPIE 9832, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXI, 983209 (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223916
Show Author Affiliations
Vincent E. Roback, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Farzin Amzajerdian, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Alexander E. Bulyshev, Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc. (United States)
Paul F. Brewster, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Bruce W. Barnes, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9832:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXI
Monte D. Turner; Gary W. Kamerman, Editor(s)

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