ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Realistic Image Generation for Testing Vision Based Autonomous Rendezvous
McCrum, M., Dunstan, M.N., Parkes, S.
Presented at:
Tralee 2008
Full paper:

The testing of vision based autonomous rendezvous systems for spacecraft during development and validation, requires a means by which realistic camera imagery may be generated. Elements that should be present in the generated images include a geometrically accurate target spacecraft or canister, realistically rendered surface materials, accurate shadows and reflections, a star field, and depending on the test scenario, the sun, and a planet, moon or asteroid. Computer graphics techniques offer advantages of speed, cost, flexibility, availability, repeatability and accuracy over the use of physical models in the generation of these images, however there is currently no generally available image generator suitable for visual simulation of rendezvous. The Space Technology Centre at the University of Dundee has recently adapted the PANGU tool, originally developed for testing vision based planetary landers, to use in this domain. This paper describes the features and validation of the modified system, which is currently being used in the European Space Agency’s High-integrity, Autonomous, multi-range RendezVous and Docking (HARVD) project.