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Tracking of planetary terrains

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1 Author(s)
Liebe, C.C. ; California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA

The AFAST project (Autonomously Feature And Star Tracking) at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology is engaged in the attitude determination and tracking of the CCD camera pointing direction on future spacecraft missions. Ground based attitude determination is time-consuming and costly. This implies that the attitude determination and the tracking of the pointing direction must be autonomous and rely exclusively on the CCD sensor. Also, distant observations call for autonomy, as relay times to Earth make ground control infeasible. This paper presents a strategy to track the pointing direction on planetary terrains. The strategy utilizes multiple closed contours in a planetary image. It accomplishes tracking by recognizing a constellation of the closed contours. The strategy is adaptable to both spacecraft and missile applications.<>

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:9 ,  Issue: 2 )