Optical Landing Hazard Sensor
Visidyne's Phase I effort has established through modeling and analysis that a unique concept for an active optical 3-D Imager (or Imaging LADAR) has high potential for successful application as a hazard avoidance sensor for use by NASA spacecraft during landing on planetary surfaces. The Landing Hazard Sensor promises to be highly cost-effective, utilizing efficient high-power laser diode technology and a gateable array of detectors to implement a sensor that provides range images to passive targets at relatively long range and over wide fields-of-regard. Further image processing determines terrain relief and gradients (identifying rocks and steep slopes) that may present impediments to landing. The spacecraft Guidance and Navigation Computer will guide the spacecraft to an obstacle free landing area by directing the engine thrust vector based upon Hazard Sensor data (as well as data from other sensors). During Phase II, a hardware and software prototype of the Landing Hazard Sensor will be designed, constructed and evaluated.
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