Chang'E 3 Special Issue

Reconstructing the landing trajectory of the CE-3 lunar probe by using images from the landing camera

Jian-Jun Liu, Wei Yan, Chun-Lai Li, Xu Tan, Xin Ren, Ling-Li Mu


Abstract An accurate determination of the landing trajectory of Chang’e-3 (CE-3) is significant for verifying orbital control strategy, optimizing orbital planning, accurately determining the landing site of CE-3 and analyzing the geological background of the landing site. Due to complexities involved in the landing process, there are some differences between the planned trajectory and the actual trajectory of CE-3. The landing camera on CE-3 recorded a sequence of the landing process with a frequency of 10 frames per second. These images recorded by the landing camera and high-resolution images of the lunar surface are utilized to calculate the position of the probe, so as to reconstruct its precise trajectory. This paper proposes using the method of trajectory reconstruction by Single Image Space Resection to make a detailed study of the hovering stage at a height of 100 m above the lunar surface. Analysis of the data shows that the closer CE-3 came to the lunar surface, the higher the spatial resolution of images that were acquired became, and the more accurately the horizontal and vertical position of CE-3 could be determined. The horizontal and vertical accuracies were 7.09 m and 4.27 m respectively during the hovering stage at a height of 100.02 m. The reconstructed trajectory can reflect the change in CE-3’s position during the powered descent process. A slight movement in CE-3 during the hovering stage is also clearly demonstrated. These results will provide a basis for analysis of orbit control strategy, and it will be conducive to adjustment and optimization of orbit control strategy in follow-up missions.


Keywords Moon — methods: data analysis — techniques: image processing

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