Vision-based tracking and shape recovery of non-cooperative targets using distributed space systems
- Rendezvous with unknown, non-cooperative targets in space is a growing field of research with applications ranging from asteroid characterization to spacecraft servicing. This requires generating a shape model of the target and estimates of observer-target relative positioning to enable safe navigation and close proximity operations. The majority of proposed or executed space missions to unknown targets involve a single servicer spacecraft equipped with high-computation algorithms, expensive hardware, and human involvement. In contrast, this work investigates the use of Distributed Space Systems (DSS) for vision-based tracking and shape recovery of non-cooperative targets. DSS are two or more spacecraft which interact to accomplish objectives otherwise very difficult or impossible to achieve by a single asset. Although they have had significant breakthroughs in guidance, navigation, and control in recent years, research on their joint use for 3D model reconstruction of spaceborne targets is lacking. This work aims to bring methods often used for robotics and autonomous vehicles to the space domain, especially through the use of a DSS. This is accomplished through a series of in-depth simulations and analyses of asteroid and spacecraft rendezvous operations. First, the use of keypoint descriptors for asteroids is investigated and compared with conventional spaceborne techniques based on crater identification. Second, single- and multi-agent stereovision and structure from motion for asteroids and spacecraft are comparatively assessed. Third, novel techniques are developed to improve structure from motion for non-cooperative spacecraft. Finally, vision-based tracking and 3D reconstruction techniques are showcased for autonomous, simultaneous navigation and characterization of an asteroid using a swarm of three spacecraft. Overall, this body of work demonstrates the potential of combining robotics and computer vision methods with multiple agents in space for on-orbit inspection and servicing.
|Type of resource
|electronic resource; remote; computer; online resource
|1 online resource.
|Dennison, Kaitlin Ruth
|Degree committee member
|Degree committee member
|Stanford University, School of Engineering
|Stanford University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics
|Statement of responsibility
|Kaitlin Ruth Dennison.
|Submitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
|Thesis Ph.D. Stanford University 2023.
- © 2023 by Kaitlin Ruth Dennison
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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