Diploma/Master Thesis: Motion estimation of a tumbling satellite from image sequences, for on-orbit servicing

20 March 2012


The DEOS (Deutsche Orbitale Servicing) Project is concerned with on-orbit servicing (OOS) of a malfunctioning client satellite, through a servicer  pacecraft, equipped with cameras and a robot arm. A preliminary estimation of trajectories of the tumbling body is needed, in order to assess motion dynamics (mass, inertia parameters) and therefore make accurate predictions for the subsequent grasping and docking, performed by the robot arm.

Scope of the Thesis is 3D visual motion estimation, knowing a CAD model of the client geometry. For this task, images will be obtained from a simulation mockup, installed in our facilities.


  • DEOS Webpage:
  • U. Hillenbrand, R. Lampariello, Motion and Parameter Estimation of a Free-Floating Space Object from Range Data for Motion Prediction, 8th International symposium on Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Automation in Space (i-SAIRAS 2005), Munich, Germany, 5-9 September 2005
  • G. Panin, Model-based Visual Tracking – the OpenTL framework, John Wiley & Sons, 2011.


  • Knowledge of C++ and Matlab programming
  • Basic knowledge about image processing/computer vision

Additionally, it would be recommended some experience with the OpenCV computer vision library.

Duration: 6 months (start: mid-April 2012)

Please feel free to contact us for more detailed information.

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