An Inertial Dual-State State Estimator for Precision Planetary Landing with Hazard Detection and Avoidance


The navigation filter architecture successfully deployed on the Morpheus flight vehicle is presented. The filter was developed as a key element of the NASA Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project and over the course of 15 free fights was integrated into the Morpheus vehicle, operations, and flight control loop. Flight testing completed by demonstrating autonomous hazard detection and avoidance, integration of an altimeter, surface relative velocity (velocimeter) and hazard relative navigation (HRN) measurements into the onboard dual-state inertial estimator Kalman flter software, and landing within 2 meters of the vertical testbed GPS-based navigation solution at the safe landing site target. Morpheus followed a trajectory that included an ascent phase followed by a partial descent-to-landing, although the proposed filter architecture is applicable to more general planetary precision entry, descent, and landings. The main new contribution is the incorporation of a sophisticated hazard relative navigation sensor--originally intended to locate safe landing sites--into the navigation system and employed as a navigation sensor. The formulation of a dual-state inertial extended Kalman filter was designed to address the precision planetary landing problem when viewed as a rendezvous problem with an intended landing site. For the required precision navigation system that is capable of navigating along a descent-to-landing trajectory to a precise landing, the impact of attitude errors on the translational state estimation are included in a fully integrated navigation structure in which translation state estimation is combined with attitude state estimation. The map tie errors are estimated as part of the process, thereby creating a dual-state filter implementation. Also, the filter is implemented using inertial states rather than states relative to the target. External measurements include altimeter, velocimeter, star camera, terrain relative navigation sensor, and a hazard relative navigation sensor providing information regarding hazards on a map generated on-the-fly.

Meeting Name

AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference (2016: Jan. 4-8, San Diego, CA)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Crashworthiness; Free flight; Gold; Hazards; Integration testing; Meteorological instruments; NASA; Navigation systems; Software testing; State estimation; Velocimeters; Velocity measurement; Entry , descent , and landings; Filter architecture; GPS-based navigation; Landing trajectory; Navigation sensors; Relative navigation; Rendezvous problems; Required precision; Landing

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Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2016 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2016

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