Attitude determination is a crucial process in satellite operations that involves accurately determining and maintaining the precise orientation or attitude of a satellite in space. Attitude refers to the satellite’s orientation relative to a specific reference frame, and it is defined by its pitch, roll, and yaw angles.
To achieve precise attitude determination, satellites are equipped with a variety of advanced sensors and instruments, each designed to measure specific aspects of the satellite’s orientation and movement. These sensors work together to provide a comprehensive picture of the satellite’s position and motion, enabling satellite operators to make real-time adjustments and ensure the satellite is pointing in the desired direction.
One of the primary sensors used for attitude determination is the star tracker. Star trackers capture images of stars and compare them to a star catalogue, allowing the satellite to determine its orientation relative to celestial objects with high accuracy. By analysing the positions of stars in the captured images, the star tracker can calculate the satellite’s attitude in three dimensions.