SHERBROOKE, Québec, Canada, [October 30, 2020] — NGC Aerospace will demonstrate the capability and performance of its Crated-Based Navigation system onboard an actual Moon exploration mission by 2024 thanks to financial support from the Canadian Space Agency.
Compensating for the lack of a GPS constellation around the Moon, NGC’s system uses features on the surface of the planetary body – Moon craters – as references to autonomously determine the position of an Orbiter or a Lander in Moon geographical coordinates. This technology processes real-time camera images taken from Moon orbit and during the descent, extracts craters from the images and matches the detected craters with a pre-stored reference map of lunar craters, without any human intervention.
“Our GPS-like navigation system promises to increase the accuracy at touchdown by orders of magnitude with respect to current landing capabilities.” says Jean de Lafontaine, CEO. Jean-François Hamel, the project manager for the mission, emphasises that such technology is necessary to meet the challenging requirements of future Moon landing missions, requiring landing accuracies better than 100 meters.
This project is undertaken with the financial support of the Canadian Space Agency as part of its Lunar Exploration Accelerator Program (LEAP). It builds on NGC’s extensive validation of its crater-based technology both by computer using simulated images and by laboratory experiments in NGC’s own Landing Dynamic Test Facility.
ABOUT NGC AEROSPACE
NGC Aerospace’s mission consists in shaping the future of autonomous exploration through ingenuity, knowledge and collaboration. NGC is designing and deploying the computer intelligence of mobile systems with the aim of increasing their autonomy, performance, reliability and safety while reducing their development and operational costs. The mobile systems of interest include Earth satellites, planetary orbiters, landers, rovers and pilotless aerial vehicles. NGC’s guidance, navigation and control software has cumulated 40 years of successful operation in orbit and has contributed to the technologies enabling the high autonomy, agility and accuracy of future aerospace systems.