Hera spacecraft self-driving navigation test

Watch in



Captions and subtitles are available (automatically generated by YouTube) - select your language using the YouTube player controls








Testing the Hera asteroid mission's autonomous vision-based navigation at GMV in Spain. The spacecraft takes advantage of the roughly-spherical shape of the main Didymos asteroid to fit it within a circle and estimate the line-of-sight distance between the spacecraft and the asteroid ‘centroid’. Once it moves less than 8 km from Didymain, the asteroid fills its field of view and this navigation mode is unavailable. Then comes the most ambitious navigation mode of all, based on autonomous feature tracking with no absolute reference.This involves imaging the same surface features - such as boulders and craters - in different pictures to gain a sense of how Hera is moving with respect to the surface, combined in turn with other information including onboard accelerometers for dead reckoning and the thermal infrared camera for overflying the asteroid’s night side.The same technique can also be used for navigating around the smaller Didymos moonlet asteroid.

Rate this

  • Currently 5 out of 5 Stars.
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Rating: 5/5 (2 votes cast)

Thank you for rating!

You have already rated this page, you can only rate it once!

Your rating has been changed, thanks for rating!