Post-flight Evaluation of Lidar-based Digital Terrain Models for OSIRIS-REx Navigation at Bennu

Jason M. Leonard, Jeroen L. Geeraert, Leilah K. McCarthy, Coralie D. Adam, Peter G. Antreasian, Olivier S. Barnouin, Michael G. Daly, Jeffrey A. Seabrook, Dante S. Lauretta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft spent more than 2 yr characterizing near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu. The OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) was responsible for producing the most accurate reconstruction of the asteroid’s surface—down to a global resolution of around 5 cm with a data precision of ±1.25 cm. However, the best-quality global OLA digital terrain model (DTM), version 21 (v21), was not available for navigation during proximity operations, nor was the utility of this model evaluated for processing images and altimeter data for navigation. The focus of this paper is the post-flight assessment of the final OLA v21 DTM, its performance for navigation-related analysis, and estimates of corrections needed for the DTM and measurement models. We created 15 cm resolution maplets for processing optical navigation (OpNav) data, and 5 cm resolution DTMs for processing altimeter data, to estimate a combined spacecraft trajectory over five phases of the mission. Our estimated corrections to the OLA instrument model produce altimeter data residuals with a precision of 7.12 cm (1σ; one standard deviation from the mean). The OpNav maplets produce image residuals at 0.2 px (1σ) and estimated landmark locations accurate to ±6 cm, outperforming DTM navigation-related performance requirements. Finally, our estimate of the global DTM scale is more precise and within 1.1σ of previously reported values. We find that a slight discrepancy persists between the image and altimeter data, with image data suggesting that the DTM is too small by 0.049%, but nevertheless is exceptional for navigation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number131
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science


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