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Star trackers for attitude determination

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1 Author(s)
Liebe, C.C. ; Dept. of Electrophys., Tech. Univ. Denmark, Lyngby, Denmark

One problem comes to all spacecrafts using vector information. That is the problem of determining the attitude. This paper describes how the area of attitude determination instruments has evolved from simple pointing devices into the latest technology, which determines the attitude by utilizing a CCD camera and a powerful microcomputer. The instruments are called star trackers and they are capable of determining the attitude with an accuracy better than 1 arcsecond. The concept of the star tracker is explained. The obtainable accuracy is calculated, the numbers of stars to be included in the star catalogue are discussed and the acquisition of the initial attitude is explained. Finally the commercial market for star trackers is discussed

Published in:

Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:10 ,  Issue: 6 )