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Journal of Robotics
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 472461, 6 pages
Research Article

Pose Self-Measurement of Noncooperative Spacecraft Based on Solar Panel Triangle Structure

School of Automation, Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, No. 10 Xitucheng Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100876, China

Received 19 August 2014; Revised 5 January 2015; Accepted 5 January 2015

Academic Editor: Gordon R. Pennock

Copyright © 2015 Jingzhou Song and Caixiu Cao. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aiming at the recognition and location of noncooperative spacecraft, this paper presents a monocular vision pose measurement method based on solar triangle structure. First of all, an autonomous recognition algorithm of feature structure based on sliding window Hough transformation (SWHT) and inscribed circle of a triangle is proposed, and the image coordinates of feature points on the triangle can be obtained relying on this algorithm, combined with the P4P algorithm and the structure of spacecraft, calculating the relative pose of target expressed by rotation and translation matrix. The whole algorithm can be loaded into the prewritten onboard program, which will get the autocomplete feature structure extraction and relative pose measurement without human intervention, and this method does not need to mount any markers on the target. Then compare the measured values with the accurate value of the laser tracker, so that a conclusion can be drawn that the maximum position error is lower than 5% and the rotation error is lower than 4%, which meets the requirements of noncooperative spacecraft’s pose measurement for observations, tracking, and docking in the final rendezvous phase.