A novel algorithm and hardware architecture for fast video-based shape reconstruction of space debris

Stefano Di Carlo, Paolo Prinetto, Daniele Rolfo, Nicola Sansonne, Pascal Trotta
2014 EURASIP Journal on Advances in Signal Processing  
In order to enable the non-cooperative rendezvous, capture, and removal of large space debris, automatic recognition of the target is needed. Video-based techniques are the most suitable in the strict context of space missions, where low-energy consumption is fundamental, and sensors should be passive in order to avoid any possible damage to external objects as well as to the chaser satellite. This paper presents a novel fast shape-from-shading (SfS) algorithm and a field-programmable gate
more » ... (FPGA)-based system hardware architecture for video-based shape reconstruction of space debris. The FPGA-based architecture, equipped with a pair of cameras, includes a fast image pre-processing module, a core implementing a feature-based stereo-vision approach, and a processor that executes the novel SfS algorithm. Experimental results show the limited amount of logic resources needed to implement the proposed architecture, and the timing improvements with respect to other state-of-the-art SfS methods. The remaining resources available in the FPGA device can be exploited to integrate other vision-based techniques to improve the comprehension of debris model, allowing a fast evaluation of associated kinematics in order to select the most appropriate approach for capture of the target space debris.
doi:10.1186/1687-6180-2014-147 fatcat:koc573tgz5ealnalnvd24ixp2e