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Discovery of the Kalman filter as a practical tool for aerospace and industryThe sequence of events which led the researchers at Ames Research Center to the early discovery of the Kalman filter shortly after its introduction into the literature is recounted. The scientific breakthroughs and reformulations that were necessary to transform Kalman's work into a useful tool for a specific aerospace application are described. The resulting extended Kalman filter, as it is now known, is often still referred to simply as the Kalman filter. As the filter's use gained in popularity in the scientific community, the problems of implementation on small spaceborne and airborne computers led to a square-root formulation of the filter to overcome numerical difficulties associated with computer word length. The work that led to this new formulation is also discussed, including the first airborne computer implementation and flight test. Since then the applications of the extended and square-root formulations of the Kalman filter have grown rapidly throughout the aerospace industry.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Mcgee, L. A.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Schmidt, S. F.
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 5, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1985
Subject Category
Aircraft Communications And Navigation
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:86847
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 532-06-11
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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