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Proceedings Paper

Rayleigh scattering attitude sensor
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Paper Abstract

A new instrument has been developed to measure spacecraft attitude which utilizes ultraviolet radiation scattered in the Earth's limb. The sensor consists of a very stable UV bandpass filter with a center wavelength at 355 nm, imaging optics, and a linear diode array detector. The radiance of the limb at this wavelength is dominated by Rayleigh scattering and typically decreases by 15% per kilometer above 20 km. The theoretical resolution at the limb of this device is 0.39 km per pixel for a nominal orbital altitude of 306 km (approximately equals 0.012 degree(s)) and represents a significant improvement over typical infrared-based attitude sensors which have an accuracy of approximately equals 0.1 degree(s). This system was integrated with the Shuttle Solar Backscatter Ultraviolet experiment and flown on STS-72 in January of 1996. The calibration and optical characterization of the device will be presented. Results from the first flight of this instrument, showing an agreement with available shuttle pointing data of +/- 0.05 degree(s), will also be discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 8 November 1996
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 2831, Ultraviolet Atmospheric and Space Remote Sensing: Methods and Instrumentation, (8 November 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.257207
Show Author Affiliations
Scott J. Janz, Univ. of Maryland/Baltimore (United States)
Ernest Hilsenrath, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
David E. Flittner, Hughes STX (United States)
Donald F. Heath, Research Support Instruments Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2831:
Ultraviolet Atmospheric and Space Remote Sensing: Methods and Instrumentation
Robert E. Huffman; Christos G. Stergis, Editor(s)

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