Experimental evaluation of on-board, visual mapping of an object spinning in micro-gravity aboard the International Space Station
Tweddle, B. E., et al. (2014). "Experimental evaluation of on-board, visual mapping of an object spinning in micro-gravity aboard the International Space Station." Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS 2014), 2014 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on
Spacecraft proximity operations near an unknown and uncooperative and spinning target object is a challenging problem. One of the key steps in ensuring safe operations is building a map of the target object. Additionally, it is useful to estimate the relative position, orientation, linear and angular velocities of the object as well as its center of mass, principal axes of inertia and ratios of inertia so that the object's pose can be accurately propagated forward in time. This paper reviews an approach for building a map of an unknown and spinning object, and presents experimental results of this algorithm when it was run onboard the Synchronized Position Hold Engage Reorient Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) and Visual Estimation for Relative Tracking and Inspection of Generic Objects (VERTIGO) Goggles that are operating within the International Space Station. To the best of the authors' knowledge, this is the first time a solution to a Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) problem has been run on a computer that is in space.