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Proceedings Paper

Real-time 3D vision solution for on-orbit autonomous rendezvous and docking
Author(s): S. Ruel; C. English; M. Anctil; J. Daly; C. Smith; S. Zhu
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Paper Abstract

Neptec has developed a vision system for the capture of non-cooperative objects on orbit. This system uses an active TriDAR sensor and a model based tracking algorithm to provide 6 degree of freedom pose information in real-time from mid range to docking. This system was selected for the Hubble Robotic Vehicle De-orbit Module (HRVDM) mission and for a Detailed Test Objective (DTO) mission to fly on the Space Shuttle. TriDAR (triangulation + LIDAR) technology makes use of a novel approach to 3D sensing by combining triangulation and Time-of-Flight (ToF) active ranging techniques in the same optical path. This approach exploits the complementary nature of these sensing technologies. Real-time tracking of target objects is accomplished using 3D model based tracking algorithms developed at Neptec in partnership with the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). The system provides 6 degrees of freedom pose estimation and incorporates search capabilities to initiate and recover tracking. Pose estimation is performed using an innovative approach that is faster than traditional techniques. This performance allows the algorithms to operate in real-time on the TriDAR's flight certified embedded processor. This paper presents results from simulation and lab testing demonstrating that the system's performance meets the requirements of a complete tracking system for on-orbit autonomous rendezvous and docking.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 May 2006
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 6220, Spaceborne Sensors III, 622009 (19 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.665354
Show Author Affiliations
S. Ruel, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)
C. English, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)
M. Anctil, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)
J. Daly, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)
C. Smith, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)
S. Zhu, Neptec Design Group Ltd. (Canada)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6220:
Spaceborne Sensors III
Richard T. Howard; Robert D. Richards, Editor(s)

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