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Lost in space: Onboard star identification using CCD star tracker data without an a priori attitudeThere are many algorithms in use today which determine spacecraft attitude by identifying stars in the field of view of a star tracker. Some methods, which date from the early 1960's, compare the angular separation between observed stars with a small catalog. In the last 10 years, several methods have been developed which speed up the process and reduce the amount of memory needed, a key element to onboard attitude determination. However, each of these methods require some a priori knowledge of the spacecraft attitude. Although the Sun and magnetic field generally provide the necessary coarse attitude information, there are occasions when a spacecraft could get lost when it is not prudent to wait for sunlight. Also, the possibility of efficient attitude determination using only the highly accurate CCD star tracker could lead to fully autonomous spacecraft attitude determination. The need for redundant coarse sensors could thus be eliminated at substantial cost reduction. Some groups have extended their algorithms to implement a computation intense full sky scan. Some require large data bases. Both storage and speed are concerns for autonomous onboard systems. Neural network technology is even being explored by some as a possible solution, but because of the limited number of patterns that can be stored and large overhead, nothing concrete has resulted from these efforts. This paper presents an algorithm which, by descretizing the sky and filtering by visual magnitude of the brightness observed star, speeds up the lost in space star identification process while reducing the amount of necessary onboard computer storage compared to existing techniques.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Ketchum, Eleanor A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, US, United States)
Tolson, Robert H.
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, US, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: In: Spaceflight dynamics 1993; AAS(NASA International Symposium, 8th, Greenbelt, MD, Apr. 26-30, 1993, Parts 1 & 2 . A95-85716
ISSN: 0065-3438
Subject Category
Space Communications, Spacecraft Communications, Command And Tracking
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