2018.A.1.2. Autonomous Optical Navigation for LUMIO CubeSat


Vittorio Franzese (1)
Pierluigi Di Lizia (1)
Francesco Topputo (1)

  1. Politecnico di Milano, Italy




Optical Navigation, Lunar CubeSat, Mission Autonomy, On-board State Estimation


The Lunar Meteoroid Impact Observer (LUMIO) is a CubeSat mission to observe, quantify, and characterise the meteoroid impacts by detecting their flashes on the lunar far-side. This complements the knowledge gathered by Earth-based observations of the lunar nearside, thus synthesising a global information on the lunar meteoroid environment. LUMIO envisages a 12U CubeSat form-factor placed in a halo orbit at Earth-Moon L2 to characterise the lunar meteoroid flux by detecting the impact flashes produced on the far-side of the Moon. The mission employs the LUMIO-Cam, an optical instrument capable of detecting light flashes in the visible spectrum.

Autonomous optical navigation is one of the main key enabling technologies for the LUMIO mission, as well as for other deep-space science and exploration CubeSat missions. Autonomous on-board optical navigation is performed by processing resolved images of the Moon, where its full-disk is visible. The distance to the Moon is estimated by detecting Moon horizon points in an image and linking the Moon apparent size with the real one. The relative position vector is obtained if both the spacecraft attitude and the Moon ephemeris are known.

LUMIO is one of the two winner of ESA’s LUCE (Lunar CubeSat for Exploration) SYSNOVA competition, and as such it is being considered by ESA for implementation in the near future. The performances of the full-disk autonomous navigation in LUMIO are shown, and possible improvements in view of the mission implementation are discussed.


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