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Center Independent Research & Development: GSFC IRAD

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping for Satellite Rendezvous and Proximity Operations

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) attempts to estimate a vehicle’s position and orientation (localization) and the location of an initially unknown number of features in the environment (mapping) simultaneously. The satellite relative navigation and pose estimation problem can be considered a 3D SLAM problem where we are estimating the position, velocity, attitude, and attitude rate of the primary satellite relative to the target satellite while simultaneously estimating a map of the target features. The goal of this  project is to demonstrate the feasibility and effectiveness of using SLAM for autonomous, precise relative navigation and pose estimation without reliance on GNSS for RPO applications such as satellite proximity operations for inspection, satellite rendezvous for servicing, and near asteroid/comet navigation.

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