Virtual Reality As a Testbed for Star Tracker Algorithms Conference Paper uri icon


  • 2019 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved. Algorithms for spacecraft attitude estimation utilizing input from star trackers are often tested in a limited simulation environment. This paper presents an interactive virtual reality testbed, called SpaceCRAFT VR, for experimenting with attitude determination in any userdefined scenario. Specifically, a database containing a star catalog and initial conditions are fed into a developed star tracker model. This model uses Gaussian convolution to create an accurate output based on the field of view and simulation for the dynamics the star tracker is experiencing. A general space vehicle rigid body dynamics model has been implemented, allowing for the user to plug in any sort of attitude dynamics. Image distortion, stellar aberration, field of view, and rigid body dynamics parameters can be specified by the user. A high resolution starmap has been generated for use in SpaceCRAFT, which will be used as a testbed for the generated camera model. The camera model provides a view of the sky from the point of view of the satellite, allowing the user to modify the parameters needed until a solution to the attitude problem is solved. A virtual reality interface is provided for precise satellite component placement, along with custom analysis tools. This paper presents the development of the overall system and verifies its potential use in optimization and testing of star tracker hardware.

name of conference

  • AIAA Scitech 2019 Forum

published proceedings

  • AIAA Scitech 2019 Forum

author list (cited authors)

  • McHenry, N., Hunt, T., Chamitoff, G., & Mortari, D.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • McHenry, Neil||Hunt, Tanner||Chamitoff, Gregory||Mortari, Daniele

publication date

  • January 2019