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Optical Navigation for Autonomous Approach of Small Unknown Bodies

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dc.contributor.author Villa, Jacopo
dc.contributor.author Bandyopadhyay, Saptarshi
dc.contributor.author Morrell, Benjamin
dc.contributor.author Hockman, Benjamin
dc.contributor.author Lubey, Daniel
dc.contributor.author Harvard, Alexei
dc.contributor.author Chung, Soon-Jo
dc.contributor.author Bhaskaran, Shyam
dc.contributor.author Nesnas, Issa A.
dc.date.accessioned 2021-11-11T20:08:25Z
dc.date.available 2021-11-11T20:08:25Z
dc.date.issued 2020-01-30
dc.identifier.citation 43rd Annual AAS Guidance, Navigation and Control Conference 2020, Breckenridge, Colorado, January 30 - February 5, 2020
dc.identifier.clearanceno CL#20-0794
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/52356
dc.description.abstract State of the practice in navigation around small celestial bodies heavily relies on ground sup- port and human skill, in particular, for perception-based operations such as optical navigation and mapping. This leads to longer duration and more complex mission operations and sub- sequently higher cost. Furthermore, it imposes limitations for certain missions such as fast fly-bys or multi-agent operations. In this work, we present an autonomous navigation strat- egy suitable for approaching small unexplored bodies. During the approach, we estimate the body’s physical properties as well as the spacecraft’s relative trajectory and associated un- certainties. The autonomous navigation strategy, which is solely based on optical measure- ments, begins as soon as the body becomes resolved in the navigation camera and terminates at the start of proximity operations, when the spacecraft makes its first trajectory correction to stay in the vicinity of the body. Our strategy uses multiple image-processing algorithms: light-curve analysis for estimating the target body’s rotation rate, Shape-from-Silhouette for reconstructing the 3D shape and estimating its rotation pole, and feature tracking tailored to Small-Body images for estimating relative navigation parameters. We used the Mission Analysis, Operations, and Navigation Toolkit Environment (MONTE) developed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to evaluate the feasibility of this multi-phase navigation strategy using simulated images of an approach trajectory. We used the Rosetta mission data to generate photorealistic images to characterise the performance of this approach. This work is based on the assumptions that the spacecraft attitude is known, the body is a principal-axis rotator, a-priori estimates of ephemerides and scale are available, and the body is observed from a zero sun phase only during initial approach. Preliminary results show orbit determination performance that is on par with the human navigation from the Rosetta mission; albeit with a 1% bias in spacecraft-target radial distance estimate. The bias error is likely due to the robustness and accuracy of the visual tracking under dynamic lighting conditions and per- spective changes, which decrease accuracy.
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2020
dc.title Optical Navigation for Autonomous Approach of Small Unknown Bodies
dc.type Preprint


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