Abstract

Pose estimation for spacecraft is widely recognized as an important technology for space applications. Many space missions require accurate relative pose between the chaser and the target spacecraft. Stereo-vision is a usual mean to estimate the pose of non-cooperative targets during proximity operations. However, the uncertainty of stereo-vision measurement is still an outstanding issue that needs to be solved. With binocular structure and the geometric structure of the object, we present a robust pose estimation method for non-cooperative spacecraft. Because the solar panel can provide strict geometry constraints, our approach takes the corner points of which as features. After stereo matching, an optimization-based method is proposed to estimate the relative pose between the two spacecraft. Simulation results show that our method improves the precision and robustness of pose estimation. Our system improves the performance with maximum 3D localization error less than 5% and relative rotation angle error less than 1°. Our laboratory experiments further validate the method.

© 2017 Optical Society of America

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