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Doppler lidar sensor for precision landing on the Moon and Mars

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6 Author(s)
Farzin Amzajerdian ; NASA Langley Research Center, MS 468, Hampton, VA 23681, USA ; Larry Petway ; Glenn Hines ; Bruce Barnes
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Landing mission concepts that are being developed for exploration of planetary bodies are increasingly ambitious in their implementations and objectives. Most of these missions require accurate position and velocity data during their descent phase in order to ensure safe soft landing at the pre-designated sites. To address this need, a Doppler lidar is being developed by NASA under the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project. This lidar sensor is a versatile instrument capable of providing precision velocity vectors, vehicle ground relative altitude, and attitude. The capabilities of this advanced technology have been demonstrated through two helicopter flight test campaigns conducted over a vegetation-free terrain in 2008 and 2010. Presently, a prototype version of this sensor is being assembled for integration into a rocket-powered terrestrial free-flyer vehicle. Operating in a closed loop with the vehicle's guidance and navigation system, the viability of this advanced sensor for future landing missions will be demonstrated through a series of flight tests in 2012.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference, 2012 IEEE

Date of Conference:

3-10 March 2012