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ALHAT Updates

[youtube_video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUd0nj5n3xE[/youtube_video]

Today, the Morpheus Lander, with the ALHAT system integrated with it, performed a tether test. At 00:42, the Hazard Detection System, or HDS, which is located on the upper left-hand side of Morpheus, pitches over to begin its mosaic scan. The HDS uses a flash lidar sensor to scan a roughly 100 by 100 meter, or about 4 football fields, of the local terrain for a safe landing area, by taking dozens of 3D images. The Hazard Detection System then stitches those images together into a mosaic and generate a digital elevation map, or DEM, with a 10-cm resolution of the landing area. The digital elevation map is used to determine possible safe landing locations for the Morpheus vehicle.

[youtube_video]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVmQYrwc-L8[/youtube_video]

Between January and March of this year, the ALHAT team went to Langley Research Center (LaRC) to test the newly integrated Autonomous Landing And Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) system. To prove that the varied technologies going into ALHAT are ready for flight, they must be tested together. Especially important are tests of hardware-in-the-loop here on the ground. Today, Johnson Space Center, where ALHAT is managed in cooperation with Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Langley Research Center (LaRC), the Charles Stark Draper Labs (CSDL) and the Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), released this video of the LaRC work to bring ALHAT from simulator to reality.

Written by Jim Hillhouse

Jim Hillhouse earned a BA in History and a BSE and MSE in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, with his Master’s work focused on mission planning and orbital mechanics. Jim Hillhouse worked as an undergraduate and graduate assistant to Dr. Robert Bishop’s GNC group at the Center for Space Research, a programmer at JPL’s Navigation Section, and as the McCain 2008 campaign’s Space Industry Coordinator on the Space Coast during the 2008 Presidential Campaign.

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