ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Vision-based navigation experiment onboard the removedebris mission
T.C. Chabot, K.K. Kanani, A.P. Pollini, F.C. Chaumette, E.M. Marchand, J.F. Forshaw
Presented at:
Salzburg 2017
Full paper:

Airbus Defence and Space has been strongly involved in the design of Vision-Based Navigation (VBN) systems for more than a decade, with particular focus on applications such as planetary landing and orbital rendezvous. Based on this background and due to the increasing interest in Active Debris Removal (ADR), solutions for autonomous vision-based navigation for non-cooperative rendezvous have been investigated. Dedicated image processing and navigation algorithms have been designed at Airbus Defence and Space and INRIA to meet this specific case, and some of them have already been tested over synthetic images and actual pictures of various spacecraft. As the next step, a VBN experiment will be conducted onboard the upcoming RemoveDebris ADR demonstration mission. The RemoveDEBRIS mission, whose development has been sponsored by the European Commission FP7 program since 2013, will be deployed on a 400km orbit from the International Space Station in 2017. In addition to the VBN experiment, the mission will perform other ADR experiments, such as net and harpoon capture and drag sail de-orbiting. The VBN experiment will validate vision-based navigation equipments and algorithms, through ground-based processing of actual images acquired in flight of a debris mock-up target, in conditions fully representative of ADR. It will fulfil the following objectives: demonstrate state-of-the-art image processing and navigation algorithms based on actual flight data acquired through two different but complementary sensors: a standard camera, and a flash imaging LiDAR developed by CSEM; to validate a flash imaging LiDAR in flight and to provide an on-board processing function in order to support navigation.