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        SurRender software

        SurRender software


        Image generation software for space exploration

        Realistic image simulation in space applications

        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.

        3D models of man-made objects can be simulated for Earthbound and satellite applications

        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.

        Powerful and flexible simulation software

        Autonomous probes in the Solar System require realistic simulations.

        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.)


        Physically-accurate images

        The raytracing technique implements the physical principles of light propagation with a very high level of realism.

        SurRender is suited to various simulation setups and needs:

        • Fine image simulation with a ray tracer for the evaluation of algorithm performance and consolidation of sensor design,
        • Real-time image generation in OpenGL mode for real-time testing of on-board software, and
        • Camera emulation for electrical or optical stimulation of sensors.

        Technical features

        As of Sept. 2019, the latest version of the software is SurRender 6.1.



        Technical presentation of SurRender capabilities      
        A trip around the Solar System with the SurRender software      


        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.


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