Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair(s)

David Geller


David Geller


Matthew Harris


Todd Moon


Nova-C is a lunar lander developed by the private company Intuitive Machines to deliver commercial payloads to the Moon. The IM-1 mission set for 2023 will launch and land the Nova-C near the Moon's south pole. In this research, various navigation techniques are explored to determine the lander's position and velocity during key segments. This process is studied for key mission events including trajectory correction maneuvers (TCMs), lunar orbit insertion (LOI), and descent orbit insertion (DOI). Each mission segment, referred to as an Orbit Determination Segment (OD), is analyzed with three different navigation techniques: Monte Carlo Analysis, Linear Covariance Analysis, and Dilution of Precision Analysis. The results are matched against each other to validate consistency. The quicker navigation techniques, specifically Linear Covariance and Dilution of Precision, are implemented into a genetic algorithm to determine optimal ground station tracking schedules. Said optimal schedules are optimal with respect to various objectives, including final position errors and operational costs. Operational costs and navigation errors are combined to form a new metric, referred to as Nav-Dollars, that analyzes the trade off between real costs and estimation performance.