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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

Low-Cost Suite of COTS GNC Sensors for Precision Lunar Lander, Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

Low-Cost Suite of COTS GNC Sensors for Precision Lunar Lander, Phase I
We are proposing to exploit (in an innovative way) existing, readily available, GNC sensors for the purpose of precision lunar landing. Majority of previous lunar lander concepts with the precision/pinpoint landing capability required expensive and risky development of new GNC and landing sensors (scanning lidars, multi-beam mm-ww radar, etc.). Our proposed alternative consists solely of existing and low-cost sensors that synergistically leverage each capability and compensate for individual sensor weaknesses. For example, we can use a simple single-beam low-frequency radar altimeter (available at low-cost off-the-shelf, and proven on several Mars lander missions). The low-frequency radar can meet the maximum slant range requirements much easier than the mm-wave sensor but it does not have the adequate multiple narrow beam capability of the Apollo LM or Viking lander radar. However, the optical descent imaging measurement (using DSMAC-type sensor) can supplement the single beam radar measurement and obtain the same information about the complete state vector. There are several similar concepts implemented in this sensor suite of complementing strengths and weakness of individual sensors. More »

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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This is a historic project that was completed before the creation of TechPort on October 1, 2012. Available data has been included. This record may contain less data than currently active projects.