Exploring the far reaches of space requires highly precise mission preparations, and Airbus has developed image simulation software to support all development phases – from preliminary sizing and feasibility studies to validation and testing.
This software – called SurRender – is particularly useful for the development and testing of vision-based navigation techniques.
Continuously developed by Airbus Defence and Space since 2011, SurRender already has been used in several projects, including the development and validation of image processing algorithms for the European JUICE mission (JUpiter ICy moons Explorer), which is planned for a 2022 launch to perform detailed observations of the solar system’s gas giant – Jupiter – and three of its largest moons. SurRender also is widely used by advanced study teams in Phase A evaluations for future missions.
Key features of SurRender:
The software handles various space objects such as planets, asteroids, satellites and spacecraft,
It is capable of accommodating solar system-sized scenes without precision loss, and optimises the ray tracing process to explicitly target objects.
Physically-accurate images are produced with quantitative radiometric values, expressed in physical units (irradiance value per pixel in W.m-², or spectral irradiance in W.m-².Hz-1), and SurRender performs complete sensor modelling, including PSF, distortion, motion blur, electronic noises, rolling shutter, and other low-level detector effects.
SurRender is highly flexible. Supported objects include digital elevation models (DEMs), meshed objects, and analytical shapes such as ellipsoids with local DEMs (planets).
All surface properties can be customised with user-specified reflectance models, textures and normal maps. Lambert, Hapke, and Oren-Nayar reflectance models are included by default.
Projective models can be customised as well. Proposed implementation configurations include pinhole model with or without distortions, pushbroom sensors, and scanning sensors. In addition, low-level electronic behaviour of detectors can be specified, including response non-uniformities, noises and acquisition modes (binning, windowing, rolling shutter, etc.)
The SurRender software is a product of the Advanced Studies team of the Sensor Processing Chain department at Airbus Defence and Space, in support of Computer Vision activities.