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Proceedings Paper

Passive optical sensing of atmospheric polarization for GPS denied operations
Author(s): Todd Aycock; Art Lompado; Troy Wolz; David Chenault
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Paper Abstract

There is a rapidly growing need for position, navigation, and timing (PNT) capability that remains effective when GPS is degraded or denied. Naturally occurring sky polarization was used as long ago as the Vikings for navigation purposes. With current polarimetric sensors, the additional polarization information measured by these sensors can be used to increase the accuracy and the availability of this technique. The Sky Polarization Azimuth Sensing System (SkyPASS) sensor measures this naturally occurring sky polarization to give absolute heading information to less than 0.1° and offers significant performance enhancement over digital compasses and sun sensors. SkyPASS has been under development for some time for terrestrial applications, but use above the atmosphere may be possible and the performance specifications and SWAP are attractive for use as an additional pose sensor on a satellite. In this paper, we will describe the phenomenology, the sensor performance, and the latest test results of terrestrial SkyPASS; we will also discuss the potential for use above the atmosphere and the expected benefits and limitations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 May 2016
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 9838, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications IX, 98380Y (13 May 2016); doi: 10.1117/12.2227140
Show Author Affiliations
Todd Aycock, Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Art Lompado, Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc. (United States)
Troy Wolz, Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc. (United States)
David Chenault, Polaris Sensor Technologies, Inc. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 9838:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications IX
Khanh D. Pham; Genshe Chen, Editor(s)

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