13 May 2016 3D flash lidar performance in flight testing on the Morpheus autonomous, rocket-propelled lander to a lunar-like hazard field
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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.
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Vincent E. Roback, Vincent E. Roback, Farzin Amzajerdian, Farzin Amzajerdian, Alexander E. Bulyshev, Alexander E. Bulyshev, Paul F. Brewster, Paul F. Brewster, Bruce W. Barnes, Bruce W. Barnes, } "3D flash lidar performance in flight testing on the Morpheus autonomous, rocket-propelled lander to a lunar-like hazard field", Proc. SPIE 9832, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XXI, 983209 (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2223916; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2223916
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