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K. Kanani, A. Petit, E. Marchand, T. Chabot, B. Gerber. Vision-based navigation for debris removal missions. In 63rd International Astronautical Congress, Naples, Italia, September 2012.

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In-orbit servicing, and especially large debris removal, holds more and more the attention of space community. In this paper we present a vision based solution which enables to assess the pose (attitude and position) of a target using a monocular camera. The proposed image processing algorithm achieves 3D detection and tracking of the target, relying on frame-to-frame tracking and tracking by detection techniques. The main principle is to align the projection of the 3D model of the tracked debris with observation made in the image and provides the complete relative position and attitude thanks to non-linear optimization process. Running at video rate, the proposed algorithm can handle very complex targets, under degraded conditions, i.e. with Earth background, occlusion or optical peculiarities (such as poor texture or specular reflections). The tracking algorithm has previously been tested on real images to demonstrate its robustness to real data. In the present paper we focus on heavy debris tracking, like satellites or launcher tanks. Several tests on simulated images have been carried out to quantitatively show the performances and robustness of both tracking and associated navigation


Eric Marchand

BibTex Reference

   Author = {Kanani, K. and Petit, A. and Marchand, E. and Chabot, T. and Gerber, B.},
   Title = {Vision-based navigation for debris removal missions},
   BookTitle = {63rd International Astronautical Congress},
   Address = {Naples, Italia},
   Month = {September},
   Year = {2012}

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