Odyssey Space Research, LLC is proposing fully autonomous optical navigation and targeting for long-term, earth-independent orbit station-keeping, formation flying, rendezvous, and proximity operations between vehicles in Near Rectilinear Halo Orbit (NRHO). Phase I will focus on development of navigation and guidance algorithms for station-keeping and rendezvous that provide the necessary performance for autonomous NRHO operations using cameras that will be flying on near-term lunar orbit and NRHO missions. The proposed moon-based optical navigation is a computationally efficient approach that achieves subpixel precision in determining the center and radius of the moon, even if the moon is only partially in view. The lunar distance measurements obtained from the image processing will then be passed into an Extended Kalman Filter designed for state estimation in NRHO. To eliminate errors that can accrue when using a separate star tracker to estimate spacecraft attitude, spacecraft attitude will be directly estimated from the image data. The autonomous system will use the optical navigation solution to target station-keeping and phasing maneuvers. Odyssey has developed a downstream Y/Vx control strategy for targeting station-keeping and phasing maneuvers in NRHO. During Phase I, we propose to use our knowledge of optimization methods and the critical perturbations in NRHO to develop a stream-lined version of the downstream Y/Vx control method for use onboard a spacecraft. At the end of Phase I, we will demonstrate that the optical navigation and targeting algorithms are capable of sustained autonomous operations in NRHO without ground communication, and will support scenarios such as PPE arrival and station-keeping, Gateway orbit maintenance as other vehicles perturb its orbit, vehicles arriving at/departing from/maintaining trajectories near Gateway, and Orion/HLS vehicles operating together in NRHO.
The technology proposed here will benefit Gateway missions such as PPE and Halo/mini-hab, DragonXL/GLS missions, and NextSTEP Appendix H HLS missions. The technology will also be useful for long-term science missions at L1 and L2 libration points, and the optical navigation system can be adapted for missions to Mars, other planets, and asteroids.
The technology proposed here will also be useful for (1) a constellation developer for whom we have been developing advanced propagation and state determination methods and (2) deep space satellites for science, communication, and tracking other vehicles.