Simultaneous spacecraft attitude and orbit estimation using magnetic field vector measurements

Mohammad Abdelrahman, Sang Young Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Based on magnetometer measurements only, three-axis attitude, rate, and orbit estimation are successfully achieved. A single Augmented Dynamics Extended Kalman Filter (ADEKF) is configured by combining the spacecraft nonlinear attitude dynamics and quaternion kinematics with orbital mechanics. The filter design is adopted for three-axis stabilized spacecraft in low Earth orbits where the aerodynamic drag is the dominant source of disturbances in addition to the spacecraft magnetic residuals. To reduce the computational burden, another Interlaced Extended Kalman Filter (IEKF) is developed to uncouple the attitude/rate from the orbit dynamics. Both filters are implemented using the magnetometer measurements and their corresponding time derivatives. As a part of EgyptSat-1 flight scenario, detumbling and standby modes are used for performance testing of the ADEKF. The concept of local observability is applied to the basic filter and the stability is investigated by incorporating extensive Monte Carlo simulations with uniformly distributed initial conditions. The filter shows the capability of estimating the attitude better than 5 deg and rate of order 0.03 deg/s in each axis. In orbit estimation, the filter is capable of estimating the position with accuracy less than 8 km and velocity upto 5 m/s in each axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-669
Number of pages17
JournalAerospace Science and Technology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) through the National Research Lab. Program funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology (No. M10600000282-06J0000-28210 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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