Development of CubeStar : a CubeSat-compatible star tracker

Erlank, Alexander Olaf (2013-12)

Thesis (MEng)-- Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The next generation of CubeSats will require accurate attitude knowledge throughout orbit for advanced science payloads and high gain antennas. A star tracker can provide the required performance, but star trackers have traditionally been too large, expensive and power hungry to be included on a CubeSat. The aim of this project is to develop and demonstrate a CubeSat compatible star tracker. Subsystems from two other CubeSat components, CubeSense and CubeComputer, were combined with a sensitive, commercial image sensor and low-light lens to produce one of the smallest star trackers in existence. Algorithms for star detection, matching and attitude determination were investigated and implemented on the embedded system. The resultant star tracker, named CubeStar, can operate fully autonomously, outputting attitude estimates at a rate of 1 Hz. An engineering model was completed and demonstrated an accuracy of better than 0.01 degrees during night sky tests.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die volgende generasie van CubeSats sal akkurate orientasie kennis vereis gedurende 'n volle omwentelling van die aarde. 'n Sterkamera kan die vereiste prestasie verskaf, maar sterkameras is tradisioneel te groot, duur en krag intensief om ingesluit te word aanboord 'n CubeSat. Die doel van hierdie projek is om 'n CubeSat sterkamera te ontwikkel en te demonstreer. Substelsels van twee ander CubeSat komponente, CubeSense en CubeComputer, was gekombineer met 'n sensitiewe kommersiële beeldsensor en 'n lae-lig lens om een van die kleinste sterkameras op die mark te produseer. Algoritmes vir die ster opsporing, identi kasie en orientasie bepaling is ondersoek en geïmplementeer op die ingebedde stelsel. Die gevolglike sterkamera, genaamd CubeStar, kan ten volle outonoom orientasie afskattings lewer teen 'n tempo van 1 Hz. 'n Ingenieursmodel is voltooi en 'n akkuraatheid van beter as 0.01 grade is gedemonstreer.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85746
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