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Orbit Determination with Event-Based Cameras to Improve Space Domain Awareness
[Technical Report, Master's Thesis]
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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The objective of this research is to assess the utility of a COTS EBC for SDA applications by evaluating its ability to produce data for orbit updates of resident space objects. Unlike traditional frame-based imaging sensors, the pixels on an EBC activate independently when a change in brightness is detected to produce a continuous data flow on a per pixel basis. This unique functionality provides much higher temporal resolution than traditional frame-based sensors, such that an EBC can generate far more data points from a single observation than a frame-based sensor. However, current COTS EBCs have less spatial resolution than current COTS frame-based sensors, and no research has yet investigated whether the increased volume of data from an EBC can compensate for the lack of spatial resolution of each data point. Using a beamsplitter to provide equal data to an EBC and a frame-based sensor for observations of multiple RSOs, this research found that the volume of data produced by an EBC can compensate for the EBCs reduced spatial resolution to generate orbit updates of comparable accuracy to those produced by data from a frame-based sensor. This is especially true for single pass orbit updates, where the EBC provided a more accurate update than the frame-based sensor in 13 out of 14 cases.
[A, Approved For Public Release]