Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Eric D. Swenson, PhD.


The goal of this research effort is to investigate the analysis, design, integration, testing, and validation of a complete star tracker and star field simulator system concept for AFIT's satellite simulator, SimSat. Previous research has shown that while laboratory-based satellite simulators benefit from star trackers, the approach of designing the star field can contribute significant error if the star field is generated on a flat surface. To facilitate a star pattern that better represents a celestial sky, a partially hemispherical dome surface is suspended above SimSat and populated with a system of light emitting diodes of various intensities and angles of separation. Test results show that the spherical star pattern surface is effective in minimizing the effects of parallax when imaging in a finite conjugate mode and that more reliable attitude information within 1 degree of accuracy can be attained. The added capability to research star pattern recognition and attitude determination algorithms in the future is also significant.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number