Space Exploration

NGC enjoys a global reputation for the quality of its systems that ensure the safe descent and touchdown of planetary exploration vehicles.

Space exploration is fraught with challenges that must be met and overcome.  Autonomous navigation is a particular consideration given the lack of navigation infrastructure such as the GPS constellation that we use on Earth.

Descent and touchdown are perhaps the most dangerous phases for any planetary mission because the presence of hazards at the desired landing location pose major risks.

NGC provides Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) software that ensures the safe descent and touchdown for planetary exploration vehicles. Our expertise includes algorithm development, flight software development, validation services, and high-fidelity simulator development.


Mission: Moon

NGC’s experience with planetary landing systems dates back to the early 2000s. Since then, through projects supported by both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), NGC has refined its algorithms, software and skills, and is now playing a critical role in several mission programs aiming at reaching the Moon as soon as in 2024.

Guidance, Navigation and Control

NGC provides autonomy-enabling GNC software solutions for planetary exploration vehicles, covering all mission phases including cruise, de-orbiting, descent and touchdown. The expertise is particularly focused on system architectures implementing Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA) for safe landing and Vision-Based Navigation for Precision Landing.

Hazard Detection and Avoidance

NGC is recognized internationally for its autonomous Hazard Detection and Avoidance (HDA) software system for planetary landers. It enables terrain mapping, hazard detection and safe-site designation in real time during landing.

Optical Navigation

In order to meet the accuracy and autonomy requirements of future planetary exploration missions, NGC provides state-of-the-art image processing software for terrain-relative navigation, covering both “GPS-like” absolute navigation (determination of inertial position, velocity and orientation) and relative navigation (determination of surface-relative motion).

Rover Navigation

NGC is actively developing navigation software systems intended to increase the autonomy of planetary exploration rovers. This involves the design of onboard state-determination algorithms and image-processing software for autonomous moving platforms.

Test and Validation Environments

Validation is a particular challenge for autonomous optical navigation and HDA landing systems. This validation must guarantee the system can operate autonomously in real time and is robust enough to respond to a specified envelope of dynamical, environmental, and lighting conditions. However, these systems operate in a dynamic environment that is difficult to emulate on Earth. NGC owns and operates a suite of software and laboratory test facilities critical for the development and validation of space exploration GNC systems.

Co-development and Training

NGC also seeks to collaborate with organisations that could benefit from our know-how and technology. NGC proposes approaches to jointly develop GNC software for space exploration missions and to transfer its technology.


When you work with us, you’ll find we are very flexible when it comes to finding ways to integrate our technology into your project. We also provide in-depth training and the support of one of the most experienced Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) systems teams in the world.