ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Integrated vision-based GNC for Autonomous Rendezvous and Capture around Mars
Strippoli, L.; Colmenarejo, P.; Novelli, G.; Gil Fernandez, J.; Le Peuvedic, C.; Lanza, P.; Ankersen, F.
Presented at:
Porto 2014
Full paper:

Integrated GNC (iGNC) is an activity aimed at designing, developing and validating the GNC for autonomously performing the rendezvous and capture phase of the Mars Sample Return (MSR) mission as defined during the Mars Sample Return Orbiter (MSRO) ESA study. The validation cycle includes testing in an end-to-end simulator, in a real-time avionics-representative test bench and, finally, in a dynamic HW-in-the-loop test bench for assessing the feasibility, performances and figure of merits of the baseline approach defined during the MSRO study, for both nominal and contingency scenarios. The On-board software (OBSW) is tailored to work with the sensors, actuators and orbits baseline proposed in MSRO. The whole rendezvous is based on optical navigation, aided by RF-doppler during the search and first orbit determination of the Orbiting Sample (OS). The simulated rendezvous phase includes also the non-linear orbit synchronization, based on a dedicated non-linear guidance algorithm robust to Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) injection accuracy or MAV failures resulting in elliptic target orbits. The search phase is very demanding for the Image Processing (IP) due to the very high visual magnitude of the target wrt. the stellar background, and the attitude GNC requires very high pointing stability accuracies to fulfill image processing constraints. A trade-off of innovative, autonomous navigation filters indicating in the Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) the approach that provides the best results in terms of robustness, response to non-linearities and performances compatibly with computational load. At short range, an optimized IP based on a convex hull algorithm has been developed in order to guarantee LoS and range measurements from hundreds of meters to capture. This paper presents the iGNC OBSW (focusing particularly on guidance and navigation), the approach adopted to validate it up to TRL-5 and some of the most relevant results obtained during the still on-going test campaign.