Star trackers are designed to be highly sophisticated attitude sensors that precisely determine position during tumble operations. There are numerous types of attitude sensors, but star trackers offer the greatest robustness compared to other currently available sensors.
MIT’s Space System’s Laboratory (SSL) and AeroAstro, Inc. are developing two star trackers, LIST (Lightweight Inexpensive Star Tracker) and FAR-MST (Fast Angular Rate Miniature Star Tracker), that will aspire the design and manufacture of a more commercially viable star tracker for micro-satellites and small-scale spacecraft. The general focus of LIST is to achieve relative attitude information for moderate tumble rates.
The software consists of several functions to detect and track the motion of stars between consecutive images and return the quaternion defining the transformation between frames. For technical information, please see the link to MIT Space Systems Lab on the right side of this page. To obtain a license to this software, select the Ask a Technology Manager link on the left side of this page.