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2 May 2019 Interpolation methods for tracking spacecraft in ultratight formation
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By measuring the centroid of a beam on a detector, one can track the movement of that beam across the detector. By tracking this movement, one can track the object encompassing the detector, for example, a spacecraft. A variety of system-specific performance inhibitors can make this a challenge, requiring a robust calibration method. The goal of this investigation is to model the true beam position of the instrument in terms of the measured beam position. For this, a mathematical model is created that interpolates and corrects the measured beam position using precollected position data—a “calibration model.” The real-world scenario for this investigation is the flight-representative model of the fine lateral and longitudinal sensor (FLLS) instrument, built by Neptec Design Group and Neptec UK for the European Space Agency mission PROBA-3. Performance inhibitors for FLLS are cropping of the beam, imperfect optics, and a varying distance the beam has traveled (up to 250 m). Using bivariate spline interpolation for the FLLS calibration model gives the best performance, achieving a measurement accuracy well within the mission requirement of <300  μm.
© 2019 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE) 2329-4124/2019/$25.00 © 2019 SPIE
Miranda J. Bradshaw, Yang Gao, and Kevin P. Homewood "Interpolation methods for tracking spacecraft in ultratight formation," Journal of Astronomical Telescopes, Instruments, and Systems 5(2), 028003 (2 May 2019).
Received: 11 November 2018; Accepted: 8 April 2019; Published: 2 May 2019

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