Modulation Transfer Function (MTF) is significant in evaluating the performance of optical
imaging system. Its value lies in that it can reflect the quality of imaging system directly. Especially due to the impact of the platform launch, it is important to measure the MTF value of
the sensors at the moments when images are being captured. In other words, it is important to conduct on-orbit MTF detection for imaging systems. The on-orbit MTF value directly reflects
the performance of imaging sensors in many applications and research.
This paper introduces the theoretical basis and the principle of on-orbit MTF measurement with
remote sensing images, and then it systematically summarizes the calculation process of knife-edge
method, pulse method, point light source method and the periodic target method. With the images of CBERS-02C satellite and ZY-03 satellite, the four methods for measuring the on-orbit
MTF value have been tested. The test results and other factors, such as the nature feature selection and the construction of artificial targets, are taken into account. This paper compares different
methods of on-orbit MTF measurement to find the most suitable one that can be used with
different satellite sensors.