NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
A Self Contained Method for Safe and Precise Lunar LandingThe return of humans to the Moon will require increased capability beyond that of the previous Apollo missions. Longer stay times and a greater flexibility with regards to landing locations are among the many improvements planned. A descent and landing system that can land the vehicle more accurately than Apollo with a greater ability to detect and avoid hazards is essential to the development of a Lunar Outpost, and also for increasing the number of potentially reachable Lunar Sortie locations. This descent and landing system should allow landings in more challenging terrain and provide more flexibility with regards to mission timing and lighting considerations, while maintaining safety as the top priority. The lunar landing system under development by the ALHAT (Autonomous precision Landing and Hazard detection Avoidance Technology) project is addressing this by providing terrain-relative navigation measurements to enhance global-scale precision, an onboard hazard-detection system to select safe landing locations, and an Autonomous GNC (Guidance, Navigation, and Control) capability to process these measurements and safely direct the vehicle to this landing location. This ALHAT landing system will enable safe and precise lunar landings without requiring lunar infrastructure in the form of navigation aids or a priori identified hazard-free landing locations. The safe landing capability provided by ALHAT uses onboard active sensing to detect hazards that are large enough to be a danger to the vehicle but too small to be detected from orbit, given currently planned orbital terrain resolution limits. Algorithms to interpret raw active sensor terrain data and generate hazard maps as well as identify safe sites and recalculate new trajectories to those sites are included as part of the ALHAT System. These improvements to descent and landing will help contribute to repeated safe and precise landings for a wide variety of terrain on the Moon.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Paschall, Stephen C., II (Draper (Charles Stark) Lab., Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Brady, Tye (Draper (Charles Stark) Lab., Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Cohanim, Babak (Draper (Charles Stark) Lab., Inc. Cambridge, MA, United States)
Sostaric, Ronald (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2008
Subject Category
Spacecraft Instrumentation and Astrionics
Report/Patent Number
IEEEAC Paper-1643, Version 1
Meeting Information
2008 IEEE Aerospace Conference(Big Sky, MT)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: ALHAT Proj. PWC: 079749.01.10
Distribution Limits