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25 September 2007 Application of stereo laser tracking methods for quantifying flight dynamics
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Conventional tracking systems measure time-space-position data and collect imagery to quantify the flight dynamics of tracked targets. One of the major obstacles that severely impacts the accuracy and fidelity of the target characterization is atmospheric turbulence induced distortions of the tracking laser beam at the target surface and imagery degradations. Tracking occurs in a continuously changing atmosphere resulting in rapid variations in the tracking laser beam and distorted imagery. These atmospheric effects, in combination with other sources of degradation, such as measurement system motions (e.g. vibration/jitter), defocus blur, and spatially varying noise, severely limit the useful and accuracy of many tracking and analysis methods. This paper discusses the viability of employing stereo image correlation methods for high speed moving target characterization through atmospheric turbulence. Stereo imaging methods have proven effective in the laboratory for quantifying temporally and spatially resolved 3D motions across a target surface. This technique acquires stereo views (two or more) of a test article that has an applied random speckled (dot) pattern painted on the surface to provide trackable features on the entire target surface. The stereo views are reconciled via coordinate transformations and correlation of the transformed images. The principle limitations of this method have been the need for clean imagery and fixed camera positions and orientations. However, recent field tests have demonstrated that these limitations can be overcome to provide a new method for quantifying flight dynamics with stereo laser tracking and multi-video imagery in the presence of atmospheric turbulence.
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Hubert W. Schreier, Timothy J. Miller, Michael T. Valley, and Timothy L. Brown "Application of stereo laser tracking methods for quantifying flight dynamics", Proc. SPIE 6708, Atmospheric Optics: Models, Measurements, and Target-in-the-Loop Propagation, 67080J (25 September 2007);

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