Development of a Wearable Vision+Inertial Navigation System for International Space Station Intravehicular Activity Operations



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47th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The International Space Station (ISS) provides a unique opportunity to capture and quantify the architectural layout and 3-D space utilization in a microgravity environment from the astronauts living and working there. Information gathered will provide critical insight on the minimum net habitable volume (NHV) required for future spacecraft. In this paper, we will describe the development of a small, wearable kinematic system to estimate a crewmember’s navigation state vector – position and orientation – as a function of time during the course of their normal daily activities. Draper Laboratory is developing a vision+inertial navigation system, including passive vision and inertial sensors and state estimation algorithms that can integrate with ISS astronauts or moveable equipment. Multiple datasets, which included vision and inertial data, were collected from walking specified routes in a ground-based spaceflight analog environments at the NASA Johnson Space Center ISS mockups in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility (SVMF). The data was collected using a portable system designed for data collection in the field and performance-based trade studies that includes two cameras and three inertial measurement units (IMUs) within a single package. All data was analyzed using the Draper multi-state constrained Kalman filter (MSCKF) algorithm. The results were used to select the imager and IMU for an initial self-contained, portable vision+inertial navigation system – integrating both hardware the state estimation algorithms to demonstrate the feasibility and combined performance. Additionally, a roadmap for future hardware design and development was developed to further miniaturize the system for adoption and use by ISS astronauts, as well as integration with moveable equipment and sensors of interest onboard the ISS.


Kevin Duda, Draper Laboratory, USA
Rebecca Defronzo, Draper Laboratory, USA
Ted Steiner, Draper Laboratory, USA
Gregory Chamitoff, Texas A&M University, USA
The 47th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in South Carolina, USA on 16 July 2017 through 20 July 2017
ICES506: Human Exploration Beyond Low Earth Orbit: Missions and Technologies


ISS, Kinematic system, Wearable system, vision + inertial system