ASC has developed the Global Shutter Flash LiDAR (GSFL) technology that is ideal as a navigation and hazard avoidance sensor for fast traversing robots and rovers. The GSFL provides real time 3D imaging by capturing a full frame of 128 X 128 pixels per laser flash. With a frame rate of 30 frames per second, the GSFL provides an organized 3D point cloud which translates into non distorted 3D real time video. Scanning LiDARs and stereo vision systems cannot compete with this technology. The GSFL can image through dust that may be encountered on planetary surfaces where a scanning LiDAR and stereo vision systems cannot. The GSFL can operate in direct sunlight and total darkness including the rover’s shadow. Stereo vision systems cannot operate in either lighting environment. The GSFL has no moving parts which allows the system to have minimal Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) and has a much higher reliability than a scanning LiDAR. ASC has designed and delivered the GSFL technology for terrestrial applications and space for both radiation tolerant and radiation hard environments. ASC has the expertise in house to design, develop, and deliver GSFL hardware including application specific algorithms to support fast traversing rovers and robots. For this SBIR phase I, ASC will work with NASA and develop the mission requirements and CONOPS for the robot or rover. From the CONOPs, ASC will derive the system requirements and system architecture by utilizing tools including the link budget and z-max for the optical design. A concept design will be completed in phase I. This will include the hardware design including the optics and also the software architecture and algorithm selection. For phase II, ASC will demonstrate the technology using a robot with a GSFL and a simulated planetary field with rocks as hazards. The robot will demonstrate navigation and hazard avoidance in the simulated field.
Two ASC GSFL cameras were included in the OSIRIS REx mission. ASC’s GSFL is also included in the NASA/Boeing CST100 manned space capsule. The GSFL will support rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station. ASC is currently under consideration by multiple suppliers to support Entry Descent, and Landing for NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services. ASC is also being considered to support NASA’s New Frontiers Dragonfly mission to Saturn’s moon Titan.
ASC has delivered GoldenEye Rad Hard GSFL cameras for 3 different missions. The missions and customers are not disclosed. ASC is working with Aerospace under a CRADA to enhance the GSFL technology for tracking Resident Space Objects (RSO) and space situational awareness. ASC is currently proposing the GSFL camera to the Japanese IA procurement division.