Fast Angular Rate Miniature Star Tracker
Small Business Information
20145 Ashbrook Place, Ashburn, VA, 20147
AbstractCurrently available domestic star trackers, optimized for reliability and maximum accuracy at low angular velocity, are far too heavy, large, and expensive to meet the requirements of microsatellites. An opportunity exists to meet the needs of US microsatellites by developing a highly miniaturized, low-cost star tracker that compromises select, less critical aspects of performance, such as accuracy. This same miniature star tracker should have a capability not found in standard modern star trackers- the ability to function nominally at both low and high angular velocities. The high angular velocity feature of the miniature star tracker provides the opportunity to eliminate gyroscopes from microsatellites, further reducing cost and on-board resource usage, the very metrics that are of utmost concern to microsatellite missions. AeroAstro proposes to develop a low-cost miniature star tracker and associated internal software to provide low cost, low power, high-performance attitude determination and rate sensing, consequently enabling microsatellite activities such as precise station-keeping, precise orbital transfer, and rendezvous missions. The star tracker and its software will be able to solve the "Lost in Space" problem caused by a rapid tumble, without aid from any other sensors, such as massive and costly gyroscopes, which would traditionally be required.
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