Landing on small-bodies is a very challenging problem that requires high degrees of robustness and autonomy. Being able to perform simulations with great flexibility and accuracy is paramount for the development and design of landing systems. To this end, contact dynamics plays a fundamental role and is often handled by complex tools that require large amount of development and validation efforts and very specific expertise. In the last decade, the Visual Effects (VFX) industry has developed numerous suites that deal with contact dynamics frameworks. In this work, the possibility of leveraging on the work of the VFX industry by using Blender, one of these tools, as the source for the contact dynamics modelling is investigated. This research focuses on the description of the methodology used for the landing simulations and the validation of the tool developed. A step-by-step guide through the simulation setup is given, discussing how the wrapping GNC simulator and Blender interact. Validation tests for the different parameters and dynamic models involved in the simulations are also presented. The results refer to the landing of a CubeSat in the crater region of an asteroid. In particular, the artificial crater that will be generated on Dimorphos by NASA's DART impact in late September 2022, is considered in the simulations presented in this work. Safety maps are generated by post-processing these results, and are used to assess different landing strategies or site-selection criteria on the Dimorphos crater study case. Finally, the role of the developed tool in optimising the use of space resources and its contribution to landing design strategies is discussed.

CubeSat Landing Simulations on Small Bodies using Blender

Pugliatti, Mattia;Ferrari, Fabio;Topputo, Francesco;
2023-01-01

Abstract

Landing on small-bodies is a very challenging problem that requires high degrees of robustness and autonomy. Being able to perform simulations with great flexibility and accuracy is paramount for the development and design of landing systems. To this end, contact dynamics plays a fundamental role and is often handled by complex tools that require large amount of development and validation efforts and very specific expertise. In the last decade, the Visual Effects (VFX) industry has developed numerous suites that deal with contact dynamics frameworks. In this work, the possibility of leveraging on the work of the VFX industry by using Blender, one of these tools, as the source for the contact dynamics modelling is investigated. This research focuses on the description of the methodology used for the landing simulations and the validation of the tool developed. A step-by-step guide through the simulation setup is given, discussing how the wrapping GNC simulator and Blender interact. Validation tests for the different parameters and dynamic models involved in the simulations are also presented. The results refer to the landing of a CubeSat in the crater region of an asteroid. In particular, the artificial crater that will be generated on Dimorphos by NASA's DART impact in late September 2022, is considered in the simulations presented in this work. Safety maps are generated by post-processing these results, and are used to assess different landing strategies or site-selection criteria on the Dimorphos crater study case. Finally, the role of the developed tool in optimising the use of space resources and its contribution to landing design strategies is discussed.
2023
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1219289
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