General purpose, software configurable, intelligent LiDAR sensor for space-based non-cooperative resident space object relative navigation and tracking applications

October 25, 2023by ASC3D

Authors: Joy Shohdy, Dr. Robert Karl, Jr., Brad Short, Dr. Ricardo Delgadillo, Bruce Anderson, Alex Sandoval- Mathamba, Michael Dahlin
Advanced Scientific Concepts, Inc., 125 Cremona Drive, Suite 250, Goleta, CA 93117


A key challenge in real-time space situational applications is the ability of an in-space sensor to detect, classify, and track non-cooperative resident space objects (RSOs). Crucial real time parameters required for autonomous threat assessment and response include relative position, orientation, and 3D velocity between the in-space sensor and the RSO. Conventional situational awareness sensor suites composed of visible / IR imaging and scanning LIDAR sensors lack the precision necessary for timely and accurate RSO assessment data and typically have high Size, Weight, and Power (SWaP) penalties.
ASC’s Global Shutter Flash LiDAR (GSFL) addresses this challenge. A compact solid-state LiDAR camera, the GSFL captures range and intensity in organized point cloud data format. The camera has been involved with both in-orbit and deep space operations, earning it a Technology Readiness Level 9 (TRL-9). The space-qualified GSFL can be adapted for various distances, making it suitable for real-time space situational awareness tasks like Space Domain Awareness, Debris Removal, Satellite Servicing, Characterization, and Tracking of both Non-Cooperative and Cooperative Threats.
These various applications can be accommodated through just two main camera configurations, each designed to fit within manageable SWaP budgets. Each configuration is customized with a unique field of view and laser divergence, optimized to fulfill specific objectives. The first is a short-range option (150 m to 5 km) suitable for Servicing and Proximity Operations. The second is a long-range option (1.3 km to 60 km) tailored for Debris Removal and Characterization. These configurations can also cater to intermediate and far-range imaging, primarily optimized for Tracking and Classification. The paper delves into the optimization of each configuration for its intended use and presents expected performance outcomes.

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Development of a versatile LiDAR point cloud simulation testbed for advanced RSO algorithms
Advanced Scientific Concepts LLC (ASC) is a leading provider of real time, global shutter, solid-state, 3D flash LIDAR (3DFL) ranging/imaging systems. Our 3DFL technology offers superior distortion free scene range/intensity mapping capabilities required for real time mapping, guidance navigation & control, situational awareness, tracking, and augmented reality applications.

125 Cremona Drive Suite 250, Goleta, CA  93117