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lidar systems for precision navigation and safe landing on planetary bodiesThe ability of lidar technology to provide three-dimensional elevation maps of the terrain, high precision distance to the ground, and approach velocity can enable safe landing of robotic and manned vehicles with a high degree of precision. Currently, NASA is developing novel lidar sensors aimed at needs of future planetary landing missions. These lidar sensors are a 3-Dimensional Imaging Flash Lidar, a Doppler Lidar, and a Laser Altimeter. The Flash Lidar is capable of generating elevation maps of the terrain that indicate hazardous features such as rocks, craters, and steep slopes. The elevation maps collected during the approach phase of a landing vehicle, at about 1 km above the ground, can be used to determine the most suitable safe landing site. The Doppler Lidar provides highly accurate ground relative velocity and distance data allowing for precision navigation to the landing site. Our Doppler lidar utilizes three laser beams pointed to different directions to measure line of sight velocities and ranges to the ground from altitudes of over 2 km. Throughout the landing trajectory starting at altitudes of about 20 km, the Laser Altimeter can provide very accurate ground relative altitude measurements that are used to improve the vehicle position knowledge obtained from the vehicle navigation system. At altitudes from approximately 15 km to 10 km, either the Laser Altimeter or the Flash Lidar can be used to generate contour maps of the terrain, identifying known surface features such as craters, to perform Terrain relative Navigation thus further reducing the vehicle s relative position error. This paper describes the operational capabilities of each lidar sensor and provides a status of their development. Keywords: Laser Remote Sensing, Laser Radar, Doppler Lidar, Flash Lidar, 3-D Imaging, Laser Altimeter, Precession Landing, Hazard Detection
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Amzajerdian, Farzin
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Pierrottet, Diego F.
(Coherent Applications, Inc. Hampton, VA, United States)
Petway, Larry B.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Hines, Glenn D.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Roback, Vincent E.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
May 24, 2011
Subject Category
Communications and Radar
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
SPIE ISPDI 2011-International Symposium on Photoelectronic Detection and Imaging(Beijing)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 079749.01.04
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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