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Autonomous space target recognition and tracking approach using star sensors based on a Kalman filter

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Abstract

When imaged by detectors, space targets (including satellites and debris) and background stars have similar point-spread functions, and both objects appear to change as detectors track targets. Therefore, traditional tracking methods cannot separate targets from stars and cannot directly recognize targets in 2D images. Consequently, we propose an autonomous space target recognition and tracking approach using a star sensor technique and a Kalman filter (KF). A two-step method for subpixel-scale detection of star objects (including stars and targets) is developed, and the combination of the star sensor technique and a KF is used to track targets. The experimental results show that the proposed method is adequate for autonomously recognizing and tracking space targets.

© 2015 Optical Society of America

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