Space-object identification using spatial pattern recognition
Silversmith, Paul E.
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The traditional method of determining spacecraft attitude with a star tracker is by comparing the angle measurements between stars within a certain field-of-view (FOV) with that of angle measurements in a catalog. This technique is known as the angle method. A new approach, the planar triangle method (PTM), uses the properties of planar triangles to compare stars in a FOV with stars in a catalog. Specifically, the area and polar moment of planar triangle combinations are the comparison parameters used in the method. The PTM has been shown to provide a more consistent success rate than that of the traditional angle method. The work herein presents a technique of data association through the use of the planar triangle method. Instead of comparing the properties of stars with that of a catalog, a comparison is made between the properties of resident space objects (RSOs) and a catalog comprised of Fengyun 1C debris data and simulated data. It is shown that the planar triangle method is effective in RSO identification and is robust to the presence of measurement and sensor error.