A piece of test equipment used on a mission of the space shuttle Columbia as part of a space vision system experiment. Target dots were placed on the Canadian Target Assembly (CTA), a small satellite which was held by the Canadarm. The space vision system (SVS) used a camera to track the dots. Its computer monitored the position of the dots and used the information to determine the location and orientation of the object.
Experimental equipment designed to enhance astronauts' abilty to see, and thus work, in space. Space is a difficult visual environment with few reference points and frequent periods of extremely dark or bright lighting conditions. Astronauts working in space find it difficult to gauge the distance and speed of objects such as satellites. The development of the Space Vision System (SVS), a machine vision system for robotic devices such as the Canadarm, was undertaken to enhance human vision in the unfavourable viewing conditions of space. The SVS can provide information on the exact location, orientation and motion of a specified object. Dr. MacLean evaluated an experimental Space Vision System for use in the Space Shuttle and in the construction of Space Station Freedom. The Space Vision System uses a shuttle TV camera to monitor a pattern of target dots of known spacing arranged on an object to be tracked. As the object moves, the SVS computer measures the changing position of the dots, and provides a real time TV display of the location and orientation of the object. This displayed information helps an operator to guide the Canadarm or the Mobile Servicing System (MSS) when berthing or deploying satellites. For the CANEX-2 experiments, target dots were placed on the Canadian Assembly (CTA), a small satellite carried in the Space Shuttle's cargo bay. During the flight, a mission specialist used the Canadarm to deploy the CTA and take it through a series of manoeuvres using the information displayed by the SVS, while Dr. MacLean evaluated SVS performance and investigated details that needed to be considered to design a production model of the system. Beyond its application as a computerized eye for the Space Shuttle, the Space Vision System will be used to help construct and maintain the Space Station. Other applications include guiding small, remotely operated space vehicles for satellite retrieval and servicing. On Earth, advances in machine vision could leads to improvements in the manufacturing of products, in auto plants for example, and to applications involving work in environments such as mines or nuclear reactors (Ref. 1).
This artefact is the Canadian Target Assembly (CTA) which was part of the CANEX-2 space vision system experiments which flew on STS-52 in Oct/Nov 19921992 along with Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean. This was the second set of CANadian EXperiments to fly on the shuttle, the first being on STS-41G with Marc Garneau in 1984. CANEX-2 was developed by the National Research Council of Canada, Spar Aerospace Limited, and the Canadian Space Agency. Conceived 20 years ago in Canada's National Research Council laboratories, the Space Vision System (SVS) and Canjadian Target Assembly (CTA) were designed to enhance astronauts' vision in the difficult viewing conditions of space. It provides information on the exact location, orientation and motion of a specified target. The SVS was first put to the test during mission STS-52 in 1992 and its performance evaluated for future uses. During Chris Hadfield's 1995 STS-74 mission, the successor to the SVS, the Advanced Space Vision System (ASVS) was used with the Canadarm to connect the docking module to the Space Station MIR's Kristall module. The ASVS adds improved versatility, accuracy, reliability and performance (Ref. 1).
metal/ synthetic parts
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Fini(s) de l'artefact
painted flat black body with white white painted target dots, parts
Marques sur l'artefact
lettering on an attached plastic label reads 'CANADIAN SPACE AGENCY/ MFD. N.R.C. FLIGHT RESEARCH/ PART SN. - CTA89001/001'