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An Empirical Comparison between Two Recursive Filters for Attitude and Rate Estimation of Spinning SpacecraftThe advantages of inducing a constant spin rate on a spacecraft are well known. A variety of science missions have used this technique as a relatively low cost method for conducting science. Starting in the late 1970s, NASA focused on building spacecraft using 3-axis control as opposed to the single-axis control mentioned above. Considerable effort was expended toward sensor and control system development, as well as the development of ground systems to independently process the data. As a result, spinning spacecraft development and their resulting ground system development stagnated. In the 1990s, shrinking budgets made spinning spacecraft an attractive option for science. The attitude requirements for recent spinning spacecraft are more stringent and the ground systems must be enhanced in order to provide the necessary attitude estimation accuracy. Since spinning spacecraft (SC) typically have no gyroscopes for measuring attitude rate, any new estimator would need to rely on the spacecraft dynamics equations. One estimation technique that utilized the SC dynamics and has been used successfully in 3-axis gyro-less spacecraft ground systems is the pseudo-linear Kalman filter algorithm. Consequently, a pseudo-linear Kalman filter has been developed which directly estimates the spacecraft attitude quaternion and rate for a spinning SC. Recently, a filter using Markley variables was developed specifically for spinning spacecraft. The pseudo-linear Kalman filter has the advantage of being easier to implement but estimates the quaternion which, due to the relatively high spinning rate, changes rapidly for a spinning spacecraft. The Markley variable filter is more complicated to implement but, being based on the SC angular momentum, estimates parameters which vary slowly. This paper presents a comparison of the performance of these two filters. Monte-Carlo simulation runs will be presented which demonstrate the advantages and disadvantages of both filters.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Harman, Richard R. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2006
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing and Performance
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.