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Navigation and Positioning Research Team Supports Chang’e 3 Lunar Rover Exploration Mission
 Date: 2014-03-17  Page Views:

On 14 December 2013, the Chang’e 3 system has achieved China's first soft-landing and roving exploration on the Moon, which is a part of the second phase of China’s Lunar Exploration Program. The Navigation and Positioning Research Team at the National Engineering Center for Remote Sensing Application from RADI has successfully accomplished the support for the lunar rover (Yutu rover) exploration mission. The team was awarded the title of excellent team by the China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).

Back to 2003, the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, which is one predecessor of the Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), has started to study the key technologies for the China’s Lunar Exploration Program. In addition, a joint research team, combining the RADI members and CAST members, was organized for the program. Projecting to resolve the navigation and positioning problems for lunar rover exploration, the joint team has conduct study and research via the funding from the National Natural Science Fund and the National 863 Project. Theoretical and technical difficulties have been resolved, and a robust system (including navigation, positioning and mapping sub-systems) directed to the China’s lunar rover exploration has been established. All these research products, as navigation and positioning technology foundation, could be used in the China’s Lunar Exploration Program, as well as in the future space exploration mission like Mars exploration.

During Chang’e 3 lunar rover exploration phrase, the Navigation and Positioning Research Team has developed a complete set of software for the lunar exploration program based on the technologies including Photogrammetry, Computer Vision, and GIS technologies, etc. This set of software system contains: RoverInitializer (used for the initial state analysis for lunar rover), RoverLocator (used for the pinpoint positioning), RoverCalibrator (used for the high precision geometric calibration for the rover’s vision system), RoverOdometer(used for the mileage calculation and integrated path rendering) and RoverMapper (used for the topography reconstruction and mapping).

All these sub-systems serve the Mission Support Center, as well as the Chang’e 3 scientific exploration mission.




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