The goal of this project is to develop a fully functioning VBN system prototype at technology readiness level (TRL 7) that would be representative of the future commercial off-the-shelf product for the space industry. This means the system should be completed and tested in a laboratory environment that is representative of the operational environment in orbit. The result of this project - the VBN prototype will be a standalone hardware system running custom navigation software algorithms, including AI and computer vision, to perform complex autonomous relative navigation maneuvers necessary to rendezvous and/or dock with an uncooperative target that does not have any active or passive aids for such maneuvers. In addition to that, skills and processes for product development and testing will be created during this project. This will be achieved by building necessary partnerships with academia and the industry for gaining access to state-of-the-art research, current technology and technological processes as well as the necessary testing facilities for validation. Algorithms will be coded and tested in the simulation environment using software-in-the-loop (SITL) approach. Once the algorithm performance matches or exceeds the performance in the requirements definition document, the algorithms will then be ported to a chosen embedded system and tested for efficiency using hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) simulations.
Duration: June 1, 2021 to May 30, 2023. 2 years