In the frame of the development of new Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) for the testing phase of a spacecraft and its subsystems, the Engineering Services Section, within the Testing Division, Mechanical Systems Department, at the European Space and Technology Centre (ESTEC), has started an investigation aiming to verify the performances of a contact-less measurement system based on a high-speed camera and image processing techniques. This shall be used as an additional tool during the future test campaigns to be held at ESTEC, every time a non-intrusive GSE is required. The system is based on a PhotronTM High Speed System, composed of a High Speed camera connected to its frame-grabber via a Panel LinkTM bus, and a SW interface for the camera control.
Derivative Filters and techniques for edge detection, such as the Sobel, Prewitt and Laplace algorithms, have been used for the image enhancement and processing during several tests campaigns, which have been held to evaluate the measurement system. The improvement of the detection of the movement of the specimen has been achieved by sticking, where possible, one or more optical targets over the surface of the test article. The targets are of two types: for ambient and vacuum qualified.
The performances of the measuring system have been evaluated and are summarized in this paper. The limitations of the proposed tool have been assessed, together with the identifications of the possible scenarios where this system would be useful and could be applied to increase the effectiveness of the verification phase of a spacecraft-subsystem.