The Neptec Design Group has developed a new 3D auto-synchronized laser scanner for space applications, based on a principle from the National Research Council of Canada. In imaging mode, the Laser Camera System (LCS) raster scans objects and computes high-resolution 3D maps of their surface features. In centroid acquisition mode, the LCS determines the position of discrete target points on an object. The LCS was flight-tested on-board the space shuttle Discovery during mission STS-105 in August 2001. When the shuttle was docked on the International Space Station (ISS), the LCS was used to obtain four high-resolution 3D images of several station elements at ranges from 5 m to 40 m. A comparison of images taken during orbital day and night shows that the LCS is immune to the dynamic lighting conditions encountered on orbit. During the mission, the LCS also tracked a series of retro-reflective and Inconel targets affixed to the Multi-Purpose Lab Module (MPLM), when the module was stationary and moving. Analysis shows that the accuracy of the photosolutions derived from LCS centroid data is comparable to that of the Space Vision System (SVS), Neptec's product presently used by NASA for ISS assembly tasks.
Simulation, and Controls (AeroSense 2002)4714 (2002).