Hazard Relative Navigation: Towards safe autonomous planetary landings in unknown hazardous terrain

Svenja Woicke

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

302 Downloads (Pure)


Many successful landings have been performed on celestial bodies such as Mars, the Moon, Venus and others. All of these had in common that they were designed such that they had to land in regions, which were supposedly free of any hazards or that a certain level of risk was accepted. However, while rocks and other geological features are nightmares of any landing engineer they are the dream targets of scientists. Therefore, currently landing-site selection is a trade-off between the scientists’ wishes and the engineers’ fears. To bring the engineering capabilities closer to what the scientists desire, landing capabilities need to be advanced. Therefore, this work tries to answer the research question: Are autonomous safe landings in hazardous and potentially unknown environments possible? which lead to the following two sub-questions: 1. How can a landing vehicle autonomously assess the safety of a potentially unknown and unmapped landing site? 2. Howcan a landing vehicle ensure a safe touch downavoiding autonomously detected hazards?
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Mooij, E., Supervisor
  • Visser, P.N.A.M., Advisor
Award date25 Mar 2019
Print ISBNs978-94-028-1413-2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2019


  • Hazard detection
  • hazard relative navigation
  • terrain relative navigation
  • planetary landing
  • Moon


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