THE DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION OF AN OPTICAL ASTRONOMICAL SATELLITE TRACKING SYSTEM
Keywords: Satellite Tracker, Orbital Parameters, Streak, Star Identification, Star Catalogue, TLE, Matched Filter
Abstract. This paper presents a satellite tracking method based on optical celestial images. The proposed method is composed of two acquiring modes that are called Sidereal Stare Mode (SSM) and Track Rate Mode (TRM). To track the unknown satellites, first of all the entire of the sky is observed and the primary knowledge of the satellite location is predicted in SSM. Then, the measured pointing data is calculated and used by the telescope to acquire the satellite tracking images at the appropriate time. The framework of SSM contains main steps such as the image correction due to the noise and the image background by applying the iterative filtering methods, the star detection and removal using a double gate filter and PSF concepts, the star identification for image calibration based on a star catalogue, the streak detection of the satellite using the matched filter and finally, the extraction of the celestial coordinate of the satellite as a predicted position. In TRM, the group of star streaks should be identified in the free background image. Then, Fast Fourier Transformation (FFT) is applied and the characteristic of star streaks are extracted. Finally, the centroid of the satellite is estimated precisely by applying a binary mask and the right ascension and declination of it is calculated using astrometric transformation parameters. In this study, the searching and tracking algorithms is applied on the simulation images to detect and identify the satellite position in the sky. Therefore, a telescope along with a CCD camera is simulated to generate sequences images using the well-known star catalogues, the optical and orbital parameters. The precise celestial coordinate of a real satellite and two fictitious satellites are obtained from simulated images. The study results show that the accuracy of the satellite estimated position after star calibration is better than 5 arc seconds and the satellites tracking accuracy is around 1–3 arc seconds.