Advanced Scientific Concepts - DragonEye 3D Flash LIDAR Space Camera(TM)
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DragonEye 3D Flash LIDAR Camera for Space Applications Click Image to Expand

ASC DragonEye 3D Flash LIDAR Space Camera(TM) Click Image to Expand

DragonEye 3D Flash LIDAR Space Camera™


The DragonEye Space Camera™ is a lightweight, small form-factor (11.2 x 11.9 x 12.2 cm) integrated 3D FLC, capable of capturing a full array of 128x128 independently triggered pixels per each frame up to 10 frames per second, allowing 16,300 3D range data and intensity points to be generated as 3D point cloud images or video streams in real-time.  Designed for NASA’s Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) applications and working with Space Exploration Corporation, the DragonEye is the right sensor for Automated Rendezvous and Docking (AR&D) with the International Space Station and On-orbit Satellite Servicing.  The DragonEye has been tested on NASA’s STS-127 (Endeavour Obiter) and is mounted currently on the STS-133 (Discovery) for a round of pre-deployment tests.  This is the same 3D camera sensor engine being used by NASA Langley Research Center as the core 3D Flash LIDAR sensor engine for the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance (ALHAT) efforts.

The DragonEye consists of three primary components, the (A) 3D sensor engine, the (B) laser illuminator with lens/diffuser and the (C) cooling surfaces/vacuum enclosure.

Sample Configurations


The DragonEye Part Number DE-2845-SP comprised of:

  • 3D Sensor Engine with 128 x 128 InGaAs APD (detector array)
  • 45º x 45º field of view (17mm); 128 x 128 pixels resolution
  • Range up to 1.5km inclusive (greater depending on diffuser/lens choice)
  • Height: 11.2 cm; Length: 13.2 cm; Width: 11.9 cm; Weight: ~3.0 kg
  • Anodized metal hermetically sealed enclosure, design for a nominal delta-pressure of 14.7 psi while on orbit
  • Laser assembly (2.5 to 7 mJ/pulse depending on configuration);
    • 1570 nm, Class I eye-safe laser
    • Low parallax laser positioning
  • Nominal 5 Hz capture rate (5 Frames Per Second); up to 30Hz possible
  • Cooling operations via aluminum blocks, requires active cooling/heating
  • Windows-based notebook PC including ASC control and viewing software
  • Documentation (Camera Operator’s Manual, Camera Control Specification, Interface Control Documents
  • Based Unit Power Supply & Operation
    • 24 V DC (+/- 4V); ~35W
    • Supports an operational temperature range of at least 10 to 40 degrees C
    • Able to function (output range and intensity images) between 0 and 45 degrees C

  • Ethernet/Power Interface
    • Power and data signals, including accommodation for an absolute pressure sensor is provided via a D38999/23NC35PN connector
    • Low out-gassing parts

  • Ranging accuracy specification
    • Range bias of less than +/- (10 cm)
    • Range noise of less than +/- 15 cm, 3-sigma

Licensed Software (included with initial development system)

    • Camera command & control
    • Camera status
    • 3D and 2D data viewing software
    • Data analysis (3D)
    • All embedded software installed by ASC prior to camera shipment