July 01, 2010 to June 30, 2012

The MUSE project (Multi-core Architecture for Sensor-based Position Tracking in Space) seeks to improve the positioning of spacecraft. In the project Fraunhofer FOKUS investigated the extent to which cutting-edge multi-core processors lend themselves to evaluation of sensor data in outer space and what the supporting computer architecture might look like.

In addition to the control hardware, the Business Unit VISCOM is developing an optical position sensor in the MUSE project which could be combined with other sensors (e.g. radar or laser-based distance measurement, LIDAR) in a spacecraft. Using the position sensor, the live picture of up to three cameras can be compared with previously stored image information of the projected landing site. In a training period, a model of the landing site will be generated using existing image data (2D and digital elevation model) and FERN classifiers.During the approach, the live camera data is compared with the landing site’s model using the FAST Feature detection method and the trajectory is adjusted accordingly. The procedure is safeguarded additionally by comparing the stored camera image with the live one using optical flow procedures (alterations of features of two successive images). Beyond that, a stereo image may be generated using two cameras with which the distance to as well as the condition of the landing site’s surface can be determined. All algorithms are running redundantly if needed and are parallelized in such a fashion that each of the hardware’s eight cores is utilized ideally.

The project is run by the Space Flight Agency of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and funded by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology.