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As NASA plans to send humans back to the Moon and develop a lunar outpost, technologies must be developed to place humans and cargo safely, precisely, repeatedly, on the lunar surface with the capability to avoid surface hazards. Exploration Space Architecture Study requirements include the need for global lunar surface access with safe, precise landing without lighting constraints on terrain that may have landing hazards for human scale landing vehicles. Landing accuracies of perhaps 100's of meters for sortie crew missions to 10's of meters for Outpost class missions are required. The Autonomous precision Landing Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project will develop the new and unique descent and landing Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) hardware and software technologies necessary for these capabilities. The ALHAT project will qualify a lunar descent and landing GNC system to a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) of 6 capable of supporting lunar crewed, cargo, and robotic missions. The (ALHAT) development project was chartered by NASA Headquarters in October 2005. This paper describes the project development, research, analysis and concept evolution that has occurred since the assignment of the project. This includes the areas of systems engineering, GNC, sensors, sensor algorithms, simulations, fielding testing, laboratory testing, Hardware-In-The-Loop testing, system avionics and system certification concepts. This paper provides a high level overview of the background, the program management plan, and the current status of the ALHAT project.
Aerospace Conference, 2007 IEEE
Date of Conference: 3-10 March 2007