Date of Graduation
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
John A Christian
John A Christian
John M Kuhlman
Alfred E Lynam
In order to meet the demands of future space missions, it is beneficial for spacecraft to have the capability to support autonomous navigation. This is true for both crewed and uncrewed vehicles. For crewed vehicles, autonomous navigation would allow the crew to safely navigate home in the event of a communication system failure. For uncrewed missions, autonomous navigation reduces the demand on ground-based infrastructure and could allow for more flexible operation. One promising technique for achieving these goals is through optical navigation. To this end, the present work considers how camera images of the Earth's surface could enable autonomous navigation of a satellite in low Earth orbit. Specifically, this study will investigate the use of coastlines and other natural land-water boundaries for navigation. Observed coastlines can be matched to a pre-existing coastline database in order to determine the location of the spacecraft. This paper examines how such measurements may be processed in an on-board extended Kalman filter (EKF) to provide completely autonomous estimates of the spacecraft state throughout the duration of the mission.;In addition, future work includes implementing this work on a CubeSat mission within the WVU Applied Space Exploration Lab (ASEL). The mission titled WVU Advanced Technology Satellite for Optical Navigation (WATSON) will provide students with an opportunity to experience the life cycle of a spacecraft from design through operation while hopefully meeting the primary and secondary goals defined for mission success. The spacecraft design process, although simplified by CubeSat standards, will be discussed in this thesis as well as the current results of laboratory testing with the CubeSat model in the ASEL.
Straub, Miranda, "Design and Development of the WVU Advanced Technology Satellite for Optical Navigation" (2015). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6737.