Low-cost Star Tracker Development with a Laboratory Simulation

Wen-Chiao Chen and Shau-Shiun

Abstract: A star tracker is a type of attitude sensor applied on satellites. It is equipped with a camera and used to estimate attitude based on stellar images. The patterns constituted by stars are matched to stars from a catalog. In this work, a low-cost star tracker was developed, for which the specifications, including size, mass and computational consumption requirements, were expected to meet the requirements of small satellites. Both software algorithms and hardware components were taken into account. The sensor was composed of commercial off-the-shelf components and operated using algorithms in Lost-in-Space mode or tracking mode, which included star identification and star mapping. To verify the usability and evaluate the performance of the developed star tracker, a simple laboratory experiment was conducted indoors, where simulated star fields were displayed on a screen and captured by the sensor. The purpose of this paper was to develop a star tracker whose size fit into a CubeSat envelope, as well as to provide arc-minute accurate attitude estimation at a 20 Hz processing rate based on a hardware-in-the-loop simulation test in a laboratory.
Published in: Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021)
September 20 - 24, 2021
Union Station Hotel
St. Louis, Missouri
Pages: 2341 - 2352
Cite this article: Chen, Wen-Chiao, Shau-Shiun,, "Low-cost Star Tracker Development with a Laboratory Simulation," Proceedings of the 34th International Technical Meeting of the Satellite Division of The Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2021), St. Louis, Missouri, September 2021, pp. 2341-2352. https://doi.org/10.33012/2021.17917
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