ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Flight Tests Results of the Precision Landing GNC Test Facility
Guizzo, G.P.; Drai, R.
Presented at:
Karlovy Vary 2011
Full paper:

The Precision Landing GNC Test Facility (PLGTF) has been developed with the purpose to test, in a realistic environment, GNC techniques and technologies to be implemented on future Mars and Moon landers. PLGTF has been developed in the frame of ESA Basic Technology Research Programme (TRP) and it was conceived for reproducing the dynamic of the powered descent phase of a planetary lander which objective will be to perform precise landing on sites with a high scientific interest. The test phase of the whole developed test facility consisted in various flight sessions culminated with the execution of the first end-to-end flight tests. The flight tests performed permitted to assess the actual performance of the test facility and to declare the fully operability prior to its utilization on Mars and Moon analogues on Earth. The flight tests performed and reported in this paper are with PLGTF configured for its first payload implementation, which has been oriented to test the navigation function of a camera-based navigation system. Moreover, the flight tests performed in an end-to-end way that is with the GNC technology in the loop provided relevant information for orienting further enhancements and improvements of the test facility, which could be implemented in the near future as follow-on activity. Nevertheless PLGTF has been designed in a flexible way in order to permit the accommodation and the interface with other GNC systems both camera and LIDAR based. Finally test results and analysis of the flight test cases performed are shown for a set of test cases, which includes the Mars and Moon landing scenarios but not limited to; this also provided the opportunity to validate the test facility in a wider and more extensive way. PLGTF is a first in the class of the outdoor test facilities, in terms of completeness, flexibility and capability in reproducing the dynamic of a lander with an acceptable scale factor for what concerns the reproduction of the powered descent phase and now is ready to be used for a full validation of the camera based GNC technology under test in Mars and Moon analogues located in the Moroccan desert as one of possible future follow-on activities