MMW-Scanning Radar for Descent Guidance and Landing Safeguard

Alex Foessel and William (Red) L. Whittaker
Proceedings 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, June, 2001.


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Abstract
This paper explores the use of millimeter-wave (MMW) scanning radar for control and safeguarding during spacecraft descent and landing. The essay compares radar characteristics such as beam width, agility and range accuracy, against sensing requirements for a specific descent and landing scenario. While the study discussed here presents the advantages of agile motion-free scanning radar for mapping the landing area and providing altimetry and velocity, it also examines radar shortcomings, such as wide beam, and poor range resolution. The conclusions guide the design of a radar interpreter to alleviate these shortcomings and to generate, maintain and refine a terrain map during the descent and landing stages. Such terrain models could provide the necessary information to guide a landing spacecraft away from the dangers of scientifically interesting areas onto a safe landing site.

Keywords
spacecraft safety, millimeter-wave radar, altimetry, terrain mapping, descent guidance.

Notes
Associated Center(s) / Consortia: Space Robotics Initiative and Field Robotics Center
Associated Project(s): Motion Free Scanning Radar

Text Reference
Alex Foessel and William (Red) L. Whittaker, "MMW-Scanning Radar for Descent Guidance and Landing Safeguard," Proceedings 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space, June, 2001.

BibTeX Reference
@inproceedings{Foessel_2001_3757,
   author = "Alex Foessel and William (Red) L. Whittaker",
   editor = "Canadian Space Agency",
   title = "MMW-Scanning Radar for Descent Guidance and Landing Safeguard",
   booktitle = "Proceedings 6th International Symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space",
   month = "June",
   year = "2001",
}