Spacecraft pose estimation is a vital function of the navigation process. We introduce a regional approach combining Difference of Gaussian-based scene detection and Graph Manifold Ranking (GMR) based foreground saliency extraction to build a prior mask for the level-set region-based pose estimation. Inspired by saliency principles of edge response and centre-surround, we introduce a novel false-coloured high-frequency response image to maximise histogram distinctiveness from the grayscale infrared image. Our saliency approach shows state-of-the-art performance in precision and provides an order of magnitude reduction in processing speed from the original GMR method. We tested our method on synthetically generated ISS video sequence as well as laboratory and flight images from the STS-135 mission captured by the TriDAR infrared camera.

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Conference AIAA Space and Astronautics Forum and Exposition, 2018
Shi, J.-F. (Jian-Feng), Ulrich, S, & Ruel, S. (Stéphane). (2018). Regional method for monocular infrared image spacecraft pose estimation. In 2018 AIAA SPACE and Astronautics Forum and Exposition. doi:10.2514/6.2018-5281