Like mariners of outdated, spacecraft steer by the celebrities – utilizing combos of telescopes, cameras and computer systems known as startrackers to recognise stellar constellations to calculate their very own place in area.
The take a look at bench seen right here generates a synthetic star-like mild supply to check the optical efficiency of startrackers.
A part of the Guidance and Navigation Control (GNC) Attitude and Orbit Control (AOCS), and Pointing Laboratory, based mostly at ESA’s ESTEC technical centre within the Netherlands, this take a look at bench combines a two-axis exact rotating desk with a single star simulator – simulating the sunshine coming from infinity from a star of a given brightness and color.
Produced in home by the lab group, the aim of this facility is to characterise or calibrate a startracker when it comes to distortion, chromatic aberration and different optical variables.
The GNC, AOCS and Pointing Lab works on method of applied sciences associated to a spacecraft’s capacity to derive its orientation and placement in area. It’s one in every of a collection of ESA technical labs addressing all facets of spaceflight.
The labs are targeted totally on the wants of ESA and European area missions however are also available for institutions and companies of ESA Member States when possible.