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Solar and Magnetic Attitude Determination for Small SpacecraftDuring the Phase B development of the NASA New Millennium Program (NMP) Earth Orbiter-1 (EO-1) spacecraft, detailed analyses were performed for on-board attitude determination using the Sun and the Earth's magnetic field. This work utilized the TRMM 'Contingency Mode' as a starting point but concentrated on implementation for a small spacecraft without a high performance mechanical gyro package. The analyses and simulations performed demonstrate a geographic dependence due to diurnal variations in the Earth magnetic field with respect to the Sun synchronous, nearly polar orbit. Sensitivity to uncompensated residual magnetic fields of the spacecraft and field modeling errors is shown to be the most significant obstacle for maximizing performance. Performance has been evaluated with a number of inertial reference units and various mounting orientations for the two-axis Fine Sun Sensors. Attitude determination accuracy using the six state Kalman Filter executing at 2 Hz is approximately 0.2 deg, 3-sigma, per axis. Although EO-1 was subsequently driven to a stellar-based attitude determination system as a result of tighter pointing requirements, solar/magnetic attitude determination is demonstrated to be applicable to a range of small spacecraft with medium precision pointing requirements.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Goddard Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Woodham, Kurt
(Litton Industries College Park, MD United States)
Blackman, Kathie
(Hammers Co. Greenbelt, MD United States)
Sanneman, Paul
(Welch Engineering Ltd. Rockville, MD United States)
Date Acquired
September 8, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1997
Publication Information
Publication: Flight Mechanics Symposium 1997
Subject Category
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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