Abstract

This paper utilizes the optical cross section (OCS) to characterize the optical scattering characteristics of a space target under the conditions of Sun lighting. We derive the mathematical expression of OCS according to the radiometric theory, and put forward a fast visualization calculation method of complex space targets’ OCS based on an OpenGL and 3D model. Through the OCS simulation of Lambert bodies (cylinder and sphere), the computational accuracy and speed of the algorithm were verified. By using this method, the relative error for OCS will not exceed 0.1%, and it only takes 0.05 s to complete a complex calculation. Additionally, we calculated the OCS of three actual satellites with bidirectional reflectance distribution function model parameters in visible bands, and results indicate that it is easy to distinguish the three targets by comparing their OCS curves. This work is helpful for the identification and classification of unresolved space target based on photometric characteristics.

© 2013 Optical Society of America

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