Draper Multi-Environment Navigator (DMEN) Hazard Detection Campaign

PI: Brett Streetman, Courtney Mario (Co-I), Draper Laboratory Inc.

The Draper Multi-Environment Navigator (DMEN)is a vision navigation system consisting of a suite of sensors, circuitry, a computer, and algorithms to process data into a navigation solutionfor rocket-powered landing systems. The system has successfully completed ahigh-altitude balloon campaign. This latest suborbital flight campaign plans to advance the instrument to higher altitudes faster velocity and simulated ground hazards under rocket-powered decent.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

While DMEN continues to show promise as a terrain-relative navigation instrument through Flight Opportunities campaigns, there is a second major function of DMEN that remains untested in flight: vision-based hazard detection. Draper has internally funded the creation of monocular vision, shadow-based hazard detection software compatible with the DMEN hardware. Although a camera-in-the-loop image simulator has been developed to test this software, flight data from a rocket-powered lander vehicle would greatly increase confidence in the software and the system TRL.

With this latest suborbital flight campaign, Draper is following on to the first two DMEN campaigns with rocket-powered lander vehicle testing. In addition to adapting the DMEN hardware to the intended flight vehicle, two flights will be planned to reach an altitude of approximately 500 meters and then execute a lunar-landing-like final approach, including flying over a simulated hazard field.

Technology Maturation

DMEN has achieved high TRL (6-7) for both ground and low-altitude operations. The hazard detection technology is currently at TRL 4. This rocket-based flight campaign, including a hazard field, should allow for the collection of data and validation of algorithms in a relevant environment, advancing the system to TRL 5.

This work is a continuation of previous flight testing under T0195and T0240.

Future Customers

•Space exploration missions with a landing component
•NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services missions
•NASA’s Artemis missions

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights20 (Sep 2020)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 sRLV

Development Team

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