The structure of a space target, and estimates of its relative pose (position and orientation) and motion are the primary first tasks of any formation flight, including missions to remove space debris. Acquiring these estimates for high-speed tumbling objects is very challenging, due to the lack of prior information about the target's structure and motion. This paper proposes a method to estimate the relative position, linear and angular velocities, and attitude of space debris, based on vision measurements. The suggested approach employs a stereo camera to track a set of feature points on the target spacecraft, and an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) to perform the estimation procedure. The projection of tracked feature points on the two cameras creates an observation model of the filters and the structure of a non-cooperative spacecraft was determined by estimating the feature points’ position. The relative attitude estimation is derived through the Modified Rodrigues Parameters (MRPs). A number of numerical simulations were conducted to validate the accuracy and stability of this solution, and the results indicated acceptable convergence of estimation errors for pose and motion estimation.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Modified Rodrigues Parameters, Space debris, State estimation, Stereo vision, Unscented Kalman filter
Persistent URL
Journal IFAC-PapersOnLine
Yazdkhasti, S. (Setareh), & Sasiadek, J. (2017). Space Robot Relative Navigation for Debris Removal. IFAC-PapersOnLine, 50(1), 7929–7934. doi:10.1016/j.ifacol.2017.08.767