ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

RVS3000-3D LIDAR - Gateway Rendezvous and Lunar Landing
Christoph Schmitt, Sebastian Dochow, Michael Windmuller, Johannes Both , Olivier Mongrard
Presented at:
Virtual Conference 2021
Full paper:

The return of human presence in cis-lunar space and on the surface of the Moon for missions of increasing durations will be a key milestone towards the ultimate goal of manned missions to Mars. The assembly, operation and supply of the Gateway, representing the necessary human outpost in cis-lunar orbit and a key node in the lunar transportation architecture, will therefore be one of the major key challenges in the upcoming years. For autonomous rendezvous and docking with the Gateway intelligent relative navigation sensors are required. Jena-Optronik?s new 3D LIDAR called RVS?3000-3D represents a solution to this challenge via the combination of a high resolution scanning LIDAR with robust pose estimation algorithms. The new generation LIDAR benefits from the legacy of 48 delivered RVS? sensors which all flew flawlessly to the International Space Station on board of ATV, Cygnus and HTV spacecrafts. The RVS?3000-3D LIDAR hardware successfully reached TRL9 via its maiden flight to ISS in 2019 on Cygnus NG-11 and several more units are under contract and even already delivered for the upcoming missions. In the paper we present 6DOF pose estimation performance estimates of the RVS?3000-3D vs. the International Docking Adapter (IDA), which will be used on ISS for the crew commercial program and is also foreseen as the standard docking interface for the Gateway. The simulations are based on experience and data gathered with RVS?3000 Engineering Model in several ground tests, e.g. vs. IDA FM3 at the Kennedy Space Center. In parallel to the establishment of the Gateway station in lunar orbit, a series of robotic mission to the lunar surface are foreseen, paving the way for human return. For autonomous and safe descent high resolution terrain mapping is required to detect and avoid hazards, especially in the more challenging polar regions of interest. For this application the RVS?3000-3D is also an excellent solution since it was designed to address long range and uncooperative targets. In the paper test results obtained with a lunar mockup up to 1000m will be presented outlining the RVS?3000-3D?s imaging capabilities vs. lunar regolith. Finally intelligent algorithm solutions for dense hazard map generation and safe landing spot detection will be presented.