A pose search algorithm is used in conjunction with a bank of binary phase only filters (BPOF's) to determine the pose of a craft in a docking scenario. This approach is facilitated by the use of a high speed spatial light modulator (SLM) capable of operating at ~ 4 kHz integrated into a VanderLugt type optical correlator. The filters are generated using images created from a 3D model of a craft and 3D animation software. The pose estimation is calculated using a computer interfaced to the optical correlator via a Matlab developed algorithm that captures the image frame and performs a series of correlations from a subset of filters selected by the algorithm from the filter bank.
Established optical correlation techniques will be applied to the problem of pose estimation of spacecraft for autonomous rendezvous and docking. The problem is substantially similar to the recognition and tracking of hostile targets in military applications. The historically deep knowledge base in this area will be exploited for the current investigation so that important discoveries will not have to be reinvented. It is expected that this problem should be somewhat better behaved since the "target" is cooperative and not actively in opposition to being found or recognized. The goal of this
investigation is to determine the parameters of interest and to construct somewhat meaningful demonstrations of techniques that could be used for this optical approach to a computationally intense digital problem.