Sensors 2013, 13(10), 12771-12793; doi:10.3390/s131012771
Article

Satellite Angular Velocity Estimation Based on Star Images and Optical Flow Techniques

Department of Industrial Engineering (DII), University of Naples "Federico II", P.le Tecchio 80, Naples I80125, Italy
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 July 2013; in revised form: 13 September 2013 / Accepted: 17 September 2013 / Published: 25 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optomechatronics)
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Abstract: An optical flow-based technique is proposed to estimate spacecraft angular velocity based on sequences of star-field images. It does not require star identification and can be thus used to also deliver angular rate information when attitude determination is not possible, as during platform de tumbling or slewing. Region-based optical flow calculation is carried out on successive star images preprocessed to remove background. Sensor calibration parameters, Poisson equation, and a least-squares method are then used to estimate the angular velocity vector components in the sensor rotating frame. A theoretical error budget is developed to estimate the expected angular rate accuracy as a function of camera parameters and star distribution in the field of view. The effectiveness of the proposed technique is tested by using star field scenes generated by a hardware-in-the-loop testing facility and acquired by a commercial-off-the shelf camera sensor. Simulated cases comprise rotations at different rates. Experimental results are presented which are consistent with theoretical estimates. In particular, very accurate angular velocity estimates are generated at lower slew rates, while in all cases the achievable accuracy in the estimation of the angular velocity component along boresight is about one order of magnitude worse than the other two components.
Keywords: spacecraft angular velocity estimation; star field images; optical flow; performance analysis; hardware-in-the-loop simulation

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MDPI and ACS Style

Fasano, G.; Rufino, G.; Accardo, D.; Grassi, M. Satellite Angular Velocity Estimation Based on Star Images and Optical Flow Techniques. Sensors 2013, 13, 12771-12793.

AMA Style

Fasano G, Rufino G, Accardo D, Grassi M. Satellite Angular Velocity Estimation Based on Star Images and Optical Flow Techniques. Sensors. 2013; 13(10):12771-12793.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Fasano, Giancarmine; Rufino, Giancarlo; Accardo, Domenico; Grassi, Michele. 2013. "Satellite Angular Velocity Estimation Based on Star Images and Optical Flow Techniques." Sensors 13, no. 10: 12771-12793.

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