Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Jonathan Black, PhD.


Automated satellite proximity operations is an increasingly relevant area of mission operations for the US Air Force with potential to significantly enhance space situational awareness (SSA). Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) is a computer vision method of constructing and updating a 3D map while keeping track of the location and orientation of the imaging agent inside the map. The main objective of this research effort is to design a monocular SLAM method customized for the space environment. The method developed in this research will be implemented in an indoor proximity operations simulation laboratory. A run-time analysis is performed, showing near real-time operation. The method is verified by comparing SLAM results to truth vertical rotation data from a CubeSat air bearing testbed. This work enables control and testing of simulated proximity operations hardware in a laboratory environment. Additionally, this research lays the foundation for autonomous satellite proximity operations with unknown targets and minimal additional size, weight, and power requirements, creating opportunities for numerous mission concepts not previously available.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number