Terminal Descent Lidar System

Period of Performance: 06/17/2015 - 12/17/2015


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Coherent Applications, Inc.
20 Research Drive, Suite 500
Hampton, VA 23666
Firm POC, Principal Investigator


A laser based terminal descent sensor is proposed that will provide real-time ground-relative altitude, attitude, and vertical velocity at high data rates to a navigation computer of a vehicle during landing on a near earth object or planetary body. The operational range of the sensor in Mars, for example, can exceed ten kilometers through touchdown, and may conceivably be a low mass, volume, and cost replacement for the Terminal Descent Sensor (TDS) on missions like the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The sensor is compact, rugged, and can be easily integrated with other NASA smart sensor systems coming of age, such as the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) project or JPL's Lander Vision System (LVS). During Phase I we propose to detail the complete system design, model the transmitter laser, and test key components that will benchmark our model in preparation of a full system development in Phase II.