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7 August 2002 Correlation techniques as applied to pose estimation in space station docking
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The telerobotic assembly of space-station components has become the method of choice for the International Space Station (ISS) because it offers a safe alternative to the more hazardous option of space walks. The disadvantage of telerobotic assembly is that it does not necessarily provide for direct arbitrary views of mating interfaces for the teleoperator. Unless cameras are present very close to the interface positions, such views must be generated graphically, based on calculated pose relationships derived from images. To assist in this photogrammetric pose estimation, circular targets, or spots, of high contrast have been affixed on each connecting module at carefully surveyed positions. The appearance of a subset of spots must form a constellation of specific relative positions in the incoming image stream in order for the docking to proceed. Spot positions are expressed in terms of their apparent centroids in an image. The precision of centroid estimation is required to be as fine as 1/20th pixel, in some cases. This paper presents an approach to spot centroid estimation using cross correlation between spot images and synthetic spot models of precise centration. Techniques for obtaining sub-pixel accuracy and for shadow and lighting irregularity compensation are discussed.
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John Michael Rollins, Richard D. Juday, and Stanley E. Monroe Jr. "Correlation techniques as applied to pose estimation in space station docking", Proc. SPIE 4728, Signal and Data Processing of Small Targets 2002, (7 August 2002);

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