(nope, that’s not an UFO… just our Flight System composed of: Power Distribution Units, Solid State Disks, Cameras, Core Systems and a Measurement Unit)
HORACE (Horizon Acquisition Experiment) is an experiment flying on REXUS 16, a rocket that is designed for student experiments by the REXUS/BEXUS programme, a collaboration between the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The aim of our experiment is to develop a sensor system, which is supposed to evaluate autonomously its attitude relative to the earth. What we want to determine during the rocket flight is whether this approach is really apt to acquire the attitude even under stress conditions.
The System is meant to consist of a (off-the-shelf-)camera and an embedded system on which an algorithm is processing image frames provided by the camera. While the system is bulkhead mounted to one of the rocket modules, the camera is mounted at the outer skin, watching outside through a window in the shell of the rocket and taking a video. This video will be processed by the algorithm, which is trying to recognize the horizon of the earth and its curvature, and to calculate a vector to the earth centre (the so-called nadir-vector). Using several processed image frames the attitude can be determined.