Star tracking with an event camera
To achieve their mission, satellites and other spacecraft need to determine their orientation relative to an inertial frame, such as a celestial reference frame.
A common solution to this issue is tracking stars using cameras attached to spacecraft.
This project sought to explore the application of event cameras to enhance star tracking. Event cameras work in a similar way to the human eye, detecting only intensity changes to an image, allowing for faster processing speeds. When combined with the event camera’s lower power consumption, there is potential to be more useful than current methods involving conventional cameras.
In this project, the movement of the stars between event frames is calculated using an iterative algorithm. As stars can be considered effectively stationary during the time between frames, their movement viewed by the camera is used to determine changes in the camera’s own orientation, thus enabling quick adjustments to be made.