The Space Shuttle Program requires on-orbit inspection of the thermal protection system which covers the Orbiter spacecraft, including the critical leading-edge surfaces. A scannerless ladar system mounted on a 50-foot boom extension of the robotic arm provides this capability. This paper describes the sensor and ground processing system, which were developed by Sandia National Laboratories to meet the requirements of the Return to Flight mission in July of 2005. Mission operations for this sensor system are also reviewed.
An imaging spectrometer that can simultaneously obtain 3-D spatial and hyperspectral data has been developed. The Ranging-Imaging Spectrometer (RIS) is based on the Computed Tomographic Imaging Spectrometer (CTIS) developed at the Optical Science Center, and the Scannerless Laser Radar (LADAR) architecture developed at Sandia National Labs. The instrument acquires hyperspectral data in a single snapshot and spatial data in a series of snapshots. The system has 29 spectral bands, 1024 range samples, and approximately 80 x 80 spatial sampling. The RIS is discussed along with analysis of test data.
An ideal Rendezvous and Capture (R&C) sensor on a seeker Space Vehicle (SV) would provide accurate relative 6 degree of freedom data for the Guidance Navigation and Control System (GNCS) from far and near, operate autonomously, and provide multifunctional capability. Flash LADAR has the potential to fulfill these requirements. Sandia has developed Scannerless Range Imaging (SRI) LADAR sensors for a multitude of applications. One of the sensors, LDRI, flew onboard the STS97 mission to install the P6 truss and solar panels on the International Space Station. When compared to scanning LADAR, Scannerless LADAR is smaller, lighter, not mechanically complex, and has a much faster image acquisition time. Recently Sandia has demonstrated Flash Scannerless Range Imaging. Flash LADAR enables the capture of a full scene 3-D range image in one acquisition, thus, enabling freeze motion. The technology’s proven ability to accurately image an object as well as capture the image on the move has the potential to provide very accurate static and dynamic position data for the target vehicle relative to the seeker SV. Since no specific requirements are imposed on the target vehicle, the sensor will work equally well on cooperative and uncooperative target vehicles. This sensor technology can also provide docking feature inspection data and perform a detailed inspection of the target vehicle. This paper will describe the applicability of a Flash LADAR sensor for on-orbit cooperative and uncooperative rendezvous and capture.
Conference Committee Involvement (2)
Micro (MEMS) and Nanotechnologies for Space Applications
19 April 2006 | Orlando (Kissimmee), Florida, United States