ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
Mars Sample Return - Test Campaign for Near Range Image Processing on European Proximity Operations Simulator
The goal of the NASA-ESA Mars Sample Return mission is to return soil samples from Mars to Earth for detailed analysis in sophisticated laboratories far too heavy to transport to Mars. ESA?s Mars Sample Return - Earth Return Orbiter (MSR-ERO) will catch the Orbiting Sample Container (OS) in low Martian orbit, after NASA having retrieved 36 samples on Mars using Rover Perseverance and having launched them within the Mars Ascent Vehicle. Sealed in a biocontainment system, the samples will travel back to Earth with MSR-ERO and land in the United States. The Rendezvous GNC Image Processing (GNC/IP) aims at assessing the line of sight and range of the OS. It is a critical part in the mission, especially because the OS is a fast tumbling, small and non-cooperative target. Using the wide-angle camera as rendezvous sensor is one possible strategy that was considered in phase B1 for MSR-ERO. This work describes the cross validation of the GNC/IP developed with generated synthetic images through experiments with representative hardware on the robotic testbed European Proximity Operations Simulator 2.0.