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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Autolanding for Sample Return Missions, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Future NASA and commercial missions will increasingly target destinations with challenging topography and limited communication including unmapped asteroids, comets, and outer planet moons; surface rendezvous sites for sample return; and challenging sites like polar peaks, crater rims, and skylights on Mars and the Moon. Given the hazards of exploring these destinations, robotic landers will most likely precede human mission, as they can significantly cut mass, size and cost relative to human-relevant landers without compromising human safety. However, a reduced lander size equates to reduced hazard tolerance, placing a strong demand on precise autonomous hazard detection and landing. The proposed research innovates safe, precise navigation for autolanding for sample return missions to a distant asteroid, planet, or moon. The technology suite developed will be packaged as a commercial product More »

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