Trajectory Tracker accurately tracks projectiles with unpredictable paths

May 26, 2010
Specialised Imaging has extended the capabilities of its Trajectory Tracker so that it precisely tracks a projectile with unpredictable flight behavior.

Tring, England --Specialised Imaging, a maker of ultra-high-speed-imaging cameras and systems, has extended the capabilities of its Trajectory Tracker so that it precisely tracks a projectile with unpredictable flight behavior.

A non-powered projectile, such as a bullet, is relatively predictable and easily modeled. With a non-powered projectile, operating the Trajectory Tracker with three triggers is sufficient to provide feedback on the velocity and drag. This information allows accurate tracking.

However, a powered projectile, such as a rocket, requires real-time feedback during the flight time to allow tracking correction. In this case, an eight-sensor setup with the sensors correctly located provides a method of tracking the projectile in a way that has not been possible up to now.

To achieve this, Specialised Imaging developed a Multiple Trigger Unit (MTU) for its SI Trajectory Tracker system. The new Accutrack MTU can handle up to four individual Trajectory Tracker modules, each with eight input triggers. Sensors are positioned along the line of flight; distances between sensors are then entered into the software. The embedded on-board processor automatically calculates the angles to the sensors, as well as the position of the SI Trajectory Tracker scanning mirror, and then synchronizes the mirror to the position of the projectile. Real-time tracking of projectiles, rocket sleds, and unpredictable projectiles is now a reality.

Rotating mirror
The SI Trajectory Tracker provides consistent and accurate tracking of objects in flight using a computer controlled triggered rotating mirror positioned in front of a high-speed digital video camera.

To fully evaluate failure modes of high-speed objects, it is often necessary to observe their performance over a significant proportion of the trajectory. The SI Trajectory Tracker allows observations to be made of in flight behavior of high-speed objects over more than 100 meters with a tracking accuracy of better than 0.2° over its full scan. The resulting slow-motion record of an object in flight allows accurate diagnosis of events such as fin deployment, motor burn time, pitch, yaw, and spin rate.

For further information, send an email to [email protected].

About the Author

John Wallace | Senior Technical Editor (1998-2022)

John Wallace was with Laser Focus World for nearly 25 years, retiring in late June 2022. He obtained a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and physics at Rutgers University and a master's in optical engineering at the University of Rochester. Before becoming an editor, John worked as an engineer at RCA, Exxon, Eastman Kodak, and GCA Corporation.

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