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Proceedings Paper

The ST5000: a high-precision star tracker and attitude determination system
Author(s): Jeffrey W. Percival; Kenneth H. Nordsieck; Kurt P. Jaehnig
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Paper Abstract

The University of Wisconsin's Space Astronomy Laboratory has designed and built a Star Tracker suitable for use on sounding rockets and class D satellites. This device brings together autonomous attitude determination ("Lost in Space" mode), multi-star tracking, and a novel form of Progressive Image Transmission (US patent #5,991,816), which allows the device to be used as an ultra-low bandwidth imager. The Star Tracker 5000 (ST5000) reached operational status in a suborbital sounding rocket flight in August 2007. The ST5000 determined the rocket's inertial (FK5) attitude with arcsecond precision using its autonomous attitude determination capability, and then provided continuous sub-arc-second tracking for the full 360-second on-target portion of the flight. The ST5000 RMS tracking error was 0.54 arc-seconds in yaw and pitch, and 17 arc-seconds in roll. The vehicle RMS jitter was 0.5 arc-seconds in yaw and pitch, and 10 arc-seconds in roll. The ST5000 was funded by NASA grants NAG5-7026 and NAG5-8588.

Paper Details

Date Published: 12 July 2008
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 7010, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 70104H (12 July 2008); doi: 10.1117/12.787917
Show Author Affiliations
Jeffrey W. Percival, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (United States)
Kenneth H. Nordsieck, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (United States)
Kurt P. Jaehnig, Univ. of Wisconsin, Madison (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7010:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2008: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter
Jacobus M. Oschmann; Mattheus W. M. de Graauw; Howard A. MacEwen, Editor(s)

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