Digital Image-Based Automatic Tracking Capability
OPTRA proposes to develop an Automated Optical Tracking Capability tailored to NASA's network of optical tracking stations at the Kennedy Space Center. This will be based on target recognition and tracking algorithms that will be developed during Phase I, and tested using a prototype optical tracking station that will be designed and built for this purpose. The goal will be the totally automatic tracking by all tracking stations, without the need for human intervention. If any single station loses sight of the target, it will continue to track based on trajectory information that will be continuously generated from the ALT/AZ data supplied to the Central Tracking Computer by the active tracking stations. During Phase I OPTRA will model the optical tracking scenario and will provide estimates of the maximum downrange tracking distance, and of the tracking errors as functions of downrange distance, atmospheric visibility, and wind (turbulence). OPTRA will also provide data on the speed with which the algorithms will be able to process image data; compensation for any time lag in data processing will be built into the algorithms.
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