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Proceedings Paper

Characterizing a star tracker with built-in attitude estimation algorithms under the night sky
Author(s): Thomas Bank
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Paper Abstract

Night sky performance measurements using a star tracker with built in autonomous all stellar attitude estimation software are presented. These measurements validate predictions for on orbit performance. Presented data and statistics include: (1) The time necessary to acquire, track and identify stars and compute an optimal attitude estimate using no a priori attitude knowledge. (2) The star tracker attitude and individual star measurement noise statistics. (3) Star tracking and attitude estimation robustness. Night sky data were collected at the Ball Aerospace facility in Boulder, Colorado on a number of evenings in January 1996. A CT-633 star tracker with its internal star identification and attitude estimation software was pointed at the night sky and rigidly mounted. The CT-633 has a 20 degree field of view and 4.5 magnitude sensitivity. Data were collected at 37 celestial positions in 23 constellations, spanning over 65 percent of the northern celestial hemisphere. Over 250 data sets were collected, all yielding successful star identifications and attitude estimates with no a priori attitude knowledge. In 90 percent of the data sets, stars were acquired, tracked and identified in under one minute with attitude estimates available every 0.2 seconds there after. These data yield CT-633 results consistent with 3 arc-second cross axis attitude estimation performance predicted at beginning of life.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3086, Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XI, (23 June 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.277200
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas Bank, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3086:
Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XI
Michael K. Masten; Larry A. Stockum, Editor(s)

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