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Lessons Learned from OSIRIS-Rex Autonomous Navigation Using Natural Feature TrackingThe Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (Osiris-REx) spacecraft is scheduled to launch in September, 2016 to embark on an asteroid sample return mission. It is expected to rendezvous with the asteroid, Bennu, navigate to the surface, collect a sample (July 20), and return the sample to Earth (September 23). The original mission design called for using one of two Flash Lidar units to provide autonomous navigation to the surface. Following Preliminary design and initial development of the Lidars, reliability issues with the hardware and test program prompted the project to begin development of an alternative navigation technique to be used as a backup to the Lidar. At the critical design review, Natural Feature Tracking (NFT) was added to the mission. NFT is an onboard optical navigation system that compares observed images to a set of asteroid terrain models which are rendered in real-time from a catalog stored in memory on the flight computer. Onboard knowledge of the spacecraft state is then updated by a Kalman filter using the measured residuals between the rendered reference images and the actual observed images. The asteroid terrain models used by NFT are built from a shape model generated from observations collected during earlier phases of the mission and include both terrain shape and albedo information about the asteroid surface. As a result, the success of NFT is highly dependent on selecting a set of topographic features that can be both identified during descent as well as reliably rendered using the shape model data available. During development, the OSIRIS-REx team faced significant challenges in developing a process conducive to robust operation. This was especially true for terrain models to be used as the spacecraft gets close to the asteroid and higher fidelity models are required for reliable image correlation. This paper will present some of the challenges and lessons learned from the development of the NFT system which includes not just the flight hardware and software but the development of the terrain models used to generate the onboard rendered images.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Lorenz, David A.
(Stinger Ghaffarian Technologies, Inc. Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Olds, Ryan
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Denver, CO, United States)
May, Alexander
(Lockheed Martin Space Systems Co. Denver, CO, United States)
Mario, Courtney
(Draper (Charles Stark) Lab., Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Perry, Mark E.
(Johns Hopkins Univ. Laurel, MD, United States)
Palmer, Eric E.
(Planetary Science Inst. Tucson, AZ, United States)
Daly, Michael
(York Univ. Toronto, Ontario, Canada)
Date Acquired
March 7, 2017
Publication Date
March 4, 2017
Subject Category
Engineering (General)
Aeronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: IEEE Aerospace Conference
Location: Big Sky, MT
Country: United States
Start Date: March 4, 2017
End Date: March 11, 2017
Sponsors: Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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