Pursuing many R&D activities in inertial sensors, systems and spacecraft mechanisms for future. Few of the major ones are given below.
Atom-Interferometer based Inertial sensors (Gyroscopes, accelerometers and gravity gradiometer) for Autonomous Precision Inertial Navigation System (PINS).
The ultimate revolution in precision inertial navigation is under active focused development world over, particularly in the USA and European Nations based on atom interferometer. Using this technique, achieved accuracy by other Nations for various inertial sensors are Gyroscope : 10-7 deg/hr Accelerometer : 10-4 µg Gravity gradiometer : 10-11 g/m . Dr.Mohanlal has established laser cooling lab in IISU/ISRO for the first time which is essential for developing sensors based on atom interferometry.
Gravity gradient measurement setup
First time in the country and ISRO, gravity gradient measurement setup has been established. In order to develop atom interferometry based Gyros, accelerometers for building ultra precision INS for future, collaborative efforts initiated with IIST. He has conceived the total R&D effort required for this activity and under his guidance the work is progressing well.
Development of state of the art Video-meter for relative navigation for space rendezvous and docking.
Space rendezvous and docking requires high accuracy relative navigation. In the final phase of docking, i.e. < 300m relative distance between the two bodies namely the target and chaser, the relative attitude, position and velocity accuracy can be achieved by using multiple laser sources on the chaser illuminating the target retro-reflectors on the target and the retro-reflected laser from the designed geometry of reflectors is received at the chaser and observer based estimation technique used to get all the relative navigation parameters. For this purpose, detailed studies carried out and a video-meter instrument being developed at IISU. Dr.Mohanlal had conceived this development and he is guiding and leading this activity.
Development of Vision Aided INS for safe planetary landing.
In the final phase of any planetary landing, it is essential to avoid hazardous obstacles/regions so that safe landing is possible. This requires progressive imaging of the site as we approach and real time steering based on terrain information and homing for the safest possible landing which requires landing zone optimization. Towards this Dr.Mohanlal has initiated required studies and phase-1 is in progress. This requires image processing, fusion of image data with INS data and algorithms for path and zone optimization. He has identified various phases of development and guiding the team for this activity.