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Ground Testing Strategies for Verifying the Slew Rate Tolerance of Star Trackers

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journal contribution
posted on 21.05.2021, 15:20 by Tom Dzamba, John Enright
The performance of a star tracker is largely based on the availability of its attitude solution. Several methods exist to assess star tracker availability under both static and dynamic imaging conditions. However, these methods typically make various idealizations that can limit the accuracy of these results. This study aims to increase the fidelity of star tracker availability modeling by accounting for the effects of detection logic and pixel saturation on star detection. We achieve this by developing an analytical model for the focal plane intensity distribution of a star in the presence of sensor slew. Using the developed model, we examine the effects of slew rate on star detection using simulations and lab tests. The developed approach allows us to determine the maximum slew rate for which a star of a given stellar magnitude can still be detected. This information can then be used to describe the availability of a star tracker attitude solution as a function of slew rate, both spatially, across the entire celestial sphere, or locally, along a specified orientation track.