ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository
Flash Optical Sensors for Guidance, Navigation and Control Systems
This article presents an activity funded by the European Commission through its Seventh Framework (FP7) Specific Programme 'Cooperation' - Research Theme: 'Space'. The general goal of the project Flash Optical Sensor for TErrain Relative NAVigation (FOSTERNAV) is to develop and assess a sensor architecture for spacecrafts' Guidance Navigation and Control (GN&C) systems for terrain relative navigation. The sensor architecture concept is to merge elements used in laser rangefinder or Light Detection and Ranging device (LIDAR) and parts having been developed and used in other application fields such as the security or the robotic. The origin of the project finds its roots in the stated need for new GN&C technologies to fulfill future medium-term robotic exploration missions, or long-term human space exploration missions' terms of requirements. Step improvements in GN&C sensors performances and functionalities are requested for future robotic, cargo or manned exploration missions, involving precise soft-landing and in-orbit rendezvous phases. FOSTERNAV started in January 2011and will last three years. So far, the project's team has gone half-way through the first phase of the project focusing at identifying and analyzing several missions' term of requirements for soft-landing space application, and to convert the results of the analysis in instrument system and subsystems specifications. The first phase of sensor specification will be followed by two phases: the second phase will concentrate on the sensor design and the third on the assessment of the prototype.