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Flight Testing ALHAT Precision Landing Technologies Integrated Onboard the Morpheus Rocket VehicleA suite of prototype sensors, software, and avionics developed within the NASA Autonomous precision Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project were terrestrially demonstrated onboard the NASA Morpheus rocket-propelled Vertical Testbed (VTB) in 2014. The sensors included a LIDAR-based Hazard Detection System (HDS), a Navigation Doppler LIDAR (NDL) velocimeter, and a long-range Laser Altimeter (LAlt) that enable autonomous and safe precision landing of robotic or human vehicles on solid solar system bodies under varying terrain lighting conditions. The flight test campaign with the Morpheus vehicle involved a detailed integration and functional verification process, followed by tether testing and six successful free flights, including one night flight. The ALHAT sensor measurements were integrated into a common navigation solution through a specialized ALHAT Navigation filter that was employed in closed-loop flight testing within the Morpheus Guidance, Navigation and Control (GN&C) subsystem. Flight testing on Morpheus utilized ALHAT for safe landing site identification and ranking, followed by precise surface-relative navigation to the selected landing site. The successful autonomous, closed-loop flight demonstrations of the prototype ALHAT system have laid the foundation for the infusion of safe, precision landing capabilities into future planetary exploration missions.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Johnson Space Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Carson, John M. III
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Robertson, Edward A.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Trawny, Nikolas
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Amzajerdian, Farzin
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 28, 2017
Publication Date
August 31, 2015
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Space 2015 Conference and Exposition
Location: Pasadena, CA
Country: United States
Start Date: August 31, 2015
End Date: September 2, 2015
Sponsors: American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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