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Proceedings Paper

Synthetic vision for lunar and planetary landing vehicles
Author(s): Steven P. Williams; Jarvis J. Arthur III; Kevin J. Shelton; Lawrence J. Prinzel III; R. Michael Norman
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Paper Abstract

The Crew Vehicle Interface (CVI) group of the Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Technologies (IIFDT) has done extensive research in the area of Synthetic Vision (SV), and has shown that SV technology can substantially enhance flight crew situation awareness, reduce pilot workload, promote flight path control precision and improve aviation safety. SV technology is being extended to evaluate its utility for lunar and planetary exploration vehicles. SV may hold significant potential for many lunar and planetary missions since the SV presentation provides a computer-generated view of the terrain and other significant environment characteristics independent of the outside visibility conditions, window locations, or vehicle attributes. SV allows unconstrained control of the computer-generated scene lighting, terrain coloring, and virtual camera angles which may provide invaluable visual cues to pilots/astronauts and in addition, important vehicle state information may be conformally displayed on the view such as forward and down velocities, altitude, and fuel remaining to enhance trajectory control and vehicle system status. This paper discusses preliminary SV concepts for tactical and strategic displays for a lunar landing vehicle. The technical challenges and potential solutions to SV applications for the lunar landing mission are explored, including the requirements for high resolution terrain lunar maps and an accurate position and orientation of the vehicle that is essential in providing lunar Synthetic Vision System (SVS) cockpit displays. The paper also discusses the technical challenge of creating an accurate synthetic terrain portrayal using an ellipsoid lunar digital elevation model which eliminates projection errors and can be efficiently rendered in real-time.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 May 2008
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6957, Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2008, 695706 (1 May 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.777079
Show Author Affiliations
Steven P. Williams, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Jarvis J. Arthur III, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Kevin J. Shelton, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
Lawrence J. Prinzel III, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (United States)
R. Michael Norman, Boeing Phantom Works (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6957:
Enhanced and Synthetic Vision 2008
Jeff J. Güell; Maarten Uijt de Haag, Editor(s)

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