An algorithm for the rapid identification of star patterns is presented. The paradigm utilizes a novel star selection technique and a new binary tree- search technique to identify star configurations from large catalogues in a minimal time with low data storage requirements. Performance claims are supported by test data and identification results from a ground-based experimental star camera, the system consistently demonstrating a capability to identify numbers of stars in a single star camera image. Features include a search time scaling to the logarithm of the number of stars in the identification set, a reduced dependence on star magnitude data, and a method of accounting for camera measurement inaccuracy. The method is suitable for in-space application and offers the possibility of complete sky identification coverage using high accuracy star cameras. The approach produces a reliable, orientation independent star identification faster than conventional serial techniques and adaptable to many types of mission and application.