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Proceedings Paper

Three-dimensional tracking and imaging laser scanner for space operations
Author(s): Denis G. Laurin; J. Angelo Beraldin; Francois Blais; Marc Rioux; Luc Cournoyer
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Paper Abstract

This paper presents the development of a laser range scanner (LARS) as a three-dimensional sensor for space applications. The scanner is a versatile system capable of doing surface imaging, target ranging and tracking. It is capable of short range (0.5 m to 20 m) and long range (20 m to 10 km) sensing using triangulation and time-of-flight (TOF) methods respectively. At short range (1 m), the resolution is sub-millimeter and drops gradually with distance (2 cm at 10 m). For long range, the TOF provides a constant resolution of plus or minus 3 cm, independent of range. The LARS could complement the existing Canadian Space Vision System (CSVS) for robotic manipulation. As an active vision system, the LARS is immune to sunlight and adverse lighting; this is a major advantage over the CSVS, as outlined in this paper. The LARS could also replace existing radar systems used for rendezvous and docking. There are clear advantages of an optical system over a microwave radar in terms of size, mass, power and precision. Equipped with two high-speed galvanometers, the laser can be steered to address any point in a 30 degree X 30 degree field of view. The scanning can be continuous (raster scan, Lissajous) or direct (random). This gives the scanner the ability to register high-resolution 3D images of range and intensity (up to 4000 X 4000 pixels) and to perform point target tracking as well as object recognition and geometrical tracking. The imaging capability of the scanner using an eye-safe laser is demonstrated. An efficient fiber laser delivers 60 mW of CW or 3 (mu) J pulses at 20 kHz for TOF operation. Implementation of search and track of multiple targets is also demonstrated. For a single target, refresh rates up to 137 Hz is possible. Considerations for space qualification of the scanner are discussed. Typical space operations, such as docking, object attitude tracking, and inspections are described.

Paper Details

Date Published: 28 May 1999
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 3707, Laser Radar Technology and Applications IV, (28 May 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.351351
Show Author Affiliations
Denis G. Laurin, Canadian Space Agency (Canada)
J. Angelo Beraldin, National Research Council Canada (Canada)
Francois Blais, National Research Council Canada (Canada)
Marc Rioux, National Research Council Canada (Canada)
Luc Cournoyer, National Research Council Canada (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3707:
Laser Radar Technology and Applications IV
Gary W. Kamerman; Christian Werner, Editor(s)

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