In today’s space environment it is desirable to provide the means for autonomous navigation and control of spacecraft. This is caused by several factors which occur in combination as well as separately and can be summarized under reduction of operational efforts and mission critical constraints such as timing of manoeuvres.
Current Attitude and Orbit Determination Systems for geostationary satellites are typically based on Earth- and Sun-sensors, supplemented by gyros and ground stations for orbit determination. This trend, however, changed towards the increased use of star sensors as primary attitude sensors, which is a first step towards an APS based navigation sensor. The second step is to increase the capability to an integrated Earth-/Star Sensor for autonomous orbit determination.
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Basis for the new navigation sensor development is a collection of interesting ideas to design and implement the sensor. The work to be performed consists of 3 main tasks:
- Evaluation of Orbit Determination Technologies,
- Elaboration of an overall architectural design concept (two different concepts were evaluated):
- The sensors functional block diagram,
- Interfaces (data / power),
- Mass, volume, miniaturization,
- Expected orbit determination performance and robustness,
- Accommodation on spacecraft.
- Performance evaluation with simulator:
- Derivation of a simulation model (Simulator Software),
- Test setup and representative simulation runs.
With the invention of APS sensors, star trackers (STRs) have been improved greatly. In addition to STR enhancements these technologies allow the development of combined Earth- and star sensors (also called navigation sensors). The extremely low blooming effects allow the additional detection of moon, Earth or asteroids.
A navigation camera, which uses these new possibilities, is the consequential continuation of present navigation concepts. In difference to a star tracker in tracking mode the navigation camera may use a bigger part of the image for analysis.
The Earth measurement by airglow/nightglow (weak emission of light by the planetary atmosphere) is another design driving feature promising a better accuracy of the navigation sensor.
Study logic of “GEO orbit determination using an APS based Navigation Sensor”
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