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The surface water and ocean topography mission

2018 IEEE Aerospace Conference, 2018

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography SWOT mission is a partnership between two communities, physical oceanography and hydrology, to share high vertical accuracy and high spatial resolution topography data produced by the science payload, whose principal instrument is a Ka-band radar Interferometer. The SWOT mission will provide large-scale data sets of ocean sea-surface height resolving scales of 15km (in ocean ...


ExoMars Rover PanCam: Autonomous & Computational Intelligence [Application Notes]

IEEE Computational Intelligence Magazine, 2013

As a part of the Aurora programme for Mars exploration, funded by the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA), the UK contributes to the Exobiology on Mars (ExoMars) rover science and engineering programme, with a scheduled launch in 2018; Hence, our Panoramic Camera (PanCam) [9][15] research and development (R&D) is timely. PanCam consists of two stereo ...


Robotics and AI-Enabled On-Orbit Operations With Future Generation of Small Satellites

Proceedings of the IEEE, 2018

The low-cost and short-lead time of small satellites has led to their use in science-based missions, earth observation, and interplanetary missions. Today, they are also key instruments in orchestrating technological demonstrations for On-Orbit Operations (O3) such as inspection and spacecraft servicing with planned roles in active debris removal and on-orbit assembly. This paper provides an overview of the robotics and ...



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  • The surface water and ocean topography mission

    The Surface Water and Ocean Topography SWOT mission is a partnership between two communities, physical oceanography and hydrology, to share high vertical accuracy and high spatial resolution topography data produced by the science payload, whose principal instrument is a Ka-band radar Interferometer. The SWOT mission will provide large-scale data sets of ocean sea-surface height resolving scales of 15km (in ocean wavelength) and larger, allowing the characterization of ocean mesoscale and submesoscale circulation. Present altimeter constellations can only resolve the ocean circulation at ocean wavelengths larger than 200km. SWOT will address fundamental questions on the dynamics of ocean variability at wavelengths shorter than 200km, which encompasses mesoscale and submesoscale processes such as the formation, evolution, and dissipation of eddy variability (including narrow currents, fronts, and quasi-geostrophic turbulence) and their role in air-sea interaction. The SWOT mission will also provide measurements of water storage changes in terrestrial surface water bodies and will provide estimates of discharge in large (wider than 100m) rivers, globally. The SWOT measurements will directly measure the surface water (lakes, reservoirs, rivers, and wetlands) component of the water cycle. The core of the SWOT payload consists of a Ka-band Radar Interferometer (KaRIn) - a dual-antenna synthetic aperture radar specifically designed to make high precision height and backscatter measurements enabling the key oceanographic and hydrology data sets. The SWOT payload also includes: a Nadir Altimeter (NA) system, a radiometer for tropospheric path delay corrections, and a precision orbit determination instrument suite consisting of Global Positioning System-Payload (GPSP), Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite (DORIS) receivers, and a Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA). SWOT is a partnership mission between NASA, the French Space Agency (CNES), The United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA), and The Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The spacecraft bus and command & data ground stations are provided by CNES, while the launch vehicle and payload module are provided by NASA/JPL. The SWOT payload module instrument suite consists of the NASA/JPL provided KaRIn instrument, cross- track radiometer, GPS, and laser retroreflector, as well as the CNES provided DORIS and nadir pointing radar altimeter. CNES also provides the Radio Frequency Unit (RFU) sub-system for which the UKSA contributes the Duplexer assembly. The RFU is a key subsystem of the KaRIn instrument. CSA contributes the Extended Interaction Klystron (EIK) which is one of the KaRIn subsystem. This paper describes the mission design, implementation of the Payload, and some of the interface and design challenges.

  • ExoMars Rover PanCam: Autonomous & Computational Intelligence [Application Notes]

    As a part of the Aurora programme for Mars exploration, funded by the United Kingdom Space Agency (UKSA) and European Space Agency (ESA), the UK contributes to the Exobiology on Mars (ExoMars) rover science and engineering programme, with a scheduled launch in 2018; Hence, our Panoramic Camera (PanCam) [9][15] research and development (R&D) is timely. PanCam consists of two stereo Wide Angle Cameras (WAC) and one High Resolution Camera (HRC). While the development is still ongoing, we used funding awarded by the University College London (UCL) Graduate School to conduct investigations in the Himalayas and at Mount Everest Base Camp (EBC), according to the ExoMars rover Reference Surface Mission (RSM). The investigations included capturing stereo and high resolution images using stereo WAC emulators and HRC emulator at altitudes 3490 m, 5150 m and above. Images from different WAC filters, and color images from HRC were acquired at various Pan and Tilt Unit (PTU) mast positions. Our investigation results show significant reduction in data volume with minimum loss in image quality. Furthermore, we introduce a novel autonomous and computational intelligent system called Mission-Specific Data Processor (MSDP) for the rover. It includes Pan-Cam, Visual Data Fusion (VDF), Learning-enabled Object Detection (LOD), Self-Learning Agent (SLA) [22], and Environment Model Library (EML) as part of the rover's computational intelligence [7].

  • Robotics and AI-Enabled On-Orbit Operations With Future Generation of Small Satellites

    The low-cost and short-lead time of small satellites has led to their use in science-based missions, earth observation, and interplanetary missions. Today, they are also key instruments in orchestrating technological demonstrations for On-Orbit Operations (O3) such as inspection and spacecraft servicing with planned roles in active debris removal and on-orbit assembly. This paper provides an overview of the robotics and autonomous systems (RASs) technologies that enable robotic O3 on smallsat platforms. Major RAS topics such as sensing & perception, guidance, navigation & control (GN&C) microgravity mobility and mobile manipulation, and autonomy are discussed from the perspective of relevant past and planned missions.



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