Computer vision for dual spacecraft proximity operations -- A feasibility study

by Stich, Melanie Katherine, M.S., UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, DAVIS, 2015, 135 pages; 1604072


A computer vision-based navigation feasibility study consisting of two navigation algorithms is presented to determine whether computer vision can be used to safely navigate a small semi-autonomous inspection satellite in proximity to the International Space Station. Using stereoscopic image-sensors and computer vision, the relative attitude determination and the relative distance determination algorithms estimate the inspection satellite's relative position in relation to its host spacecraft. An algorithm needed to calibrate the stereo camera system is presented, and this calibration method is discussed. These relative navigation algorithms are tested in NASA Johnson Space Center's simulation software, Engineering Dynamic On-board Ubiquitous Graphics (DOUG) Graphics for Exploration (EDGE), using a rendered model of the International Space Station to serve as the host spacecraft. Both vision-based algorithms proved to attain successful results, and the recommended future work is discussed.

AdviserStephen Robinson
Source TypeThesis
SubjectsAerospace engineering; Mechanical engineering; Computer science
Publication Number1604072

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