Simultaneous localization and mapping for satellite rendezvous and proximity operations using random finite sets

Lauren Schlenker, Mark Moretto, David Gaylor, Richard Linares

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Future space missions require that spacecraft have the capability to autonomously navigate non-cooperative environments for rendezvous and proximity operations (RPO). Current relative navigation filters can have difficulty in these situations, diverging due to complications with data association, high measurement uncertainty, and clutter, particularly when detailed a priori maps of the target object or spacecraft do not exist. The goal of this work is to demonstrate the feasibility of random finite set (RFS) filters for spacecraft relative navigation and pose estimation. The approach is to formulate satellite relative navigation and pose estimation as a simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) problem, in which an observer spacecraft seeks to simultaneously estimate the location of features on a target object or spacecraft as well as its relative position, velocity and attitude. This work utilizes a filter developed using the framework of RFS which are well suited to multi-target SLAM operations, avoiding data association entirely. Relevant RPO scenarios with simulated flash LIDAR measurements are tested with a Probability Hypothesis Density (PHD) RFS filter embedded in a particle filter to obtain a feature map of a target and a relative pose estimate between the target and observer. Preliminary results show that an RFS-based filter can successfully perform SLAM in a spacecraft relative navigation scenario with no a priori map of the target. These results demonstrate the feasibility of RFS filtering for spacecraft relative navigation and motivate future studies which may expand to tracking space objects for space situational awareness, as well as relative navigation around small bodies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpaceflight Mechanics 2019
EditorsFrancesco Topputo, Andrew J. Sinclair, Matthew P. Wilkins, Renato Zanetti
PublisherUnivelt Inc.
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780877036593
StatePublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event29th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2019 - Maui, United States
Duration: Jan 13 2019Jan 17 2019

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


Conference29th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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