Abstract

The use of gimballed and strapped down star trackers for spacecraft attitude determination is a well-developed technology, but it presupposes some restricted degree of knowledge about the star positions and usually requires a special maneuver to obtain a favorable vehicle attitude. The paper considers the general problem of self-contained attitude determination in three axes without a priori knowledge of the star position–vehicle attitude relationship and without the need for any special maneuvers. Two approaches are discussed: The first approach concerns a search for a simple and unique star pattern and an optimum instrument geometry based upon the actual angular distribution of the stars. The second approach concerns the adaption of holography to the problem of a recognition of a star field for attitude determination.

© 1970 Optical Society of America

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