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Proceedings Paper

Pointing and stabilization system for use in a high-altitude hovering helicopter
Author(s): Kevin Murphy; Scott Goldblatt; Jeffery W. Warren; Rickey Chapman; James B. Hemler; Craig A. Mitchell; George W. Moe
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Paper Abstract

A pointing and stabilization system has been developed and flight tested which permits an optical payload to be operated for an extended time period from a nearly stationary point in the air aboard a hovering helicopter. The system is assembled primarily from commercial 'off the shelf' components and is capable of pointing the payload as desired to image geo-referenced aim points on the earth's surface. The payload contains two digital cameras and laser illuminator. The payload is mounted in a 20-inch diameter, two axis stabilized ball gimbal available form a previous program. The payload also contains a dynamically tuned gyro- based inertial measurement unit, which with GPS-aiding provides ball gimbal position and pointing information. The processed data is used to accurately register images in ground coordinates. The inertial measurement data is also used in real time to control pointing of the ball gimbal and to generate a hover display for the pilots of the SH-60 helicopter. The system has been successfully flight tested. The longest test sequence to data is a 30 minute long hover at 7000 ft altitude during which the payload was staring at a fixed aim point. During this half-hour period, pilots maintained the helicopter at its hover point within a circle of approximately 150 meters radius. Similar hover accuracy is routinely obtained. This system provides a unique research capability to observe ground phenomena from a fixed airborne perspective and to register the resulting data into fixed ground coordinates.

Paper Details

Date Published: 15 July 1999
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 3692, Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XIII, (15 July 1999); doi: 10.1117/12.352885
Show Author Affiliations
Kevin Murphy, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Scott Goldblatt, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Jeffery W. Warren, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Rickey Chapman, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
James B. Hemler, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Craig A. Mitchell, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
George W. Moe, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3692:
Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing XIII
Michael K. Masten; Larry A. Stockum, Editor(s)

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