Calibration Techniques For Low-Cost Star Trackers
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 15:38 authored by Tomas Dzamba
This study presents a series of cost-effect strategies for calibrating star trackers for microsatellite missions. We examine three such strategies that focus on the calibration of the image detector, geometric calibration of the lab setup used for ground testing, and an optical calibration due to lens aberrations. Procedures are developed for each of these strategies that emphasize speed of implementation and accuracy, while trying to minimize manual labour. For the detector calibration, an existing calibration technique was adapted and implemented to reduce fixed pattern noise and dark current. Preliminary results show reduced variations in pixel sensitivity by approximately 21%, averaged across each pixel color given the use of a color imager. Although not substantial, this reduction in pixel variation will help preserve the Gaussian illumination pattern of imaged stars, aiding in correct centroid location. Results pertaining to the lab calibration show accurate star placement, in angular terms to 0.0073º across most of the field of view. This provides an accurate low-cost, variable solution for characterizing sensor performance; specifically pattern matching techniques. Finally, we present some initial results for lens aberration characterization. Using a Gaussian model of star image shape gives trends consistence with astigmatism and field curvature aberrations. Together, these calibrations represent tools that aim to improve both development and manufacture of modern microsatellite star trackers.