College Station, TX (PRWEB) May 26, 2005
StarVision Technologies has signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Texas A&M University for star identification software that enables satellites to autonomously determine their orientation with only the stars as their guide. The same software will allow those of us on earth to identify stars in the night sky with the simple click of a high tech pointing device; no star maps or telescopes required.
"This is a huge step for StarVision," explains StarVision Technologies President Michael Jacox. "Even as we worked to secure the license from A&M, StarVision was investing in development of autonomous navigation and star identification products. It feels great knowing that we've secured the exclusive rights to put this software to work and we intend to do so right away."
Already, StarVision has two products developed that employ the algorithms and ingenuity of the three pieces of star identification software. StarVision's advanced Star Tracker concepts will support more responsive deployment of spacecraft, and allow for more autonomous on-board calibration and adjustment to the space environment.
Dr. John Junkins, Distinguished Professor of Aerospace Engineering at Texas A&M University and a member of the National Academy of Engineering, led the development the concepts behind the star identification software.
"This software is the result of collaboration between me and my colleague, Dr. Daniele Mortari. Dr. Mortari's contributions were instrumental. Along with our students, we have developed and tested a suite of software that rapidly identifies stars in the 'lost in space mode,' without any prior navigation information," Junkins explains. "The software operates on images from a star camera and within a fraction of a second identifies star patterns reliably, and automatically re-calibrates the camera if any changes occur due to long term exposure in the harsh space environment. This algorithm represents a significant breakthrough, because sorting through the tens of millions of possibilities makes brute force methods unattractive."
The same suite of software can be used for commercial applications on Earth to accurately identify stars even within our atmosphere. StarTagger, StarVision's handheld star identifier, let's anyone who can point at a star in the night sky identify constellations and find out just what star they're looking at. This invention makes it possible for anyone to immediately become a proficient amateur astronomer; the entire sky feels like a graphical user interface to access astronomy and space science information. The software that makes it all possible was developed by Dr. Junkins and Daniele Mortari, associate professor of engineering at Texas A&M.
StarVision Technologies is a high-tech spin-off from technologies developed at Texas A&M University. Housed in Texas A&M's Research Park, StarVision Technologies is engineering innovative new intelligent vision technologies that are extending the reach of our soldiers and improving commercial inspection. StarVision products support a broad range of applications, including defense unmanned systems, space systems, robotics, and consumer products.
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