Dual attitude and parameter estimation of passively magnetically stabilized nano satellites

The attitude determination capability of a nano satellite is limited by a lack of traditional high  performance attitude sensors, a result of having small budgets for mass and power. Attitude determination can still be performed on a nano satellite with low fidelity sensors, but an accurate model of the spacecraft attitude dynamics is required. The passive magnetic stabilization systems commonly employed in nano satellites are known to introduce uncertainties in the parameters of the attitude dynamicsmodel that cannot easily be resolved prior to launch. In this paper, a batch estimation problem is formulated that simultaneously solves for the attitude of the spacecraft and performs parameter estimation on the magnetic properties of the magnetic materials using only a measurement of the solar vector. The estimation technique is applied to data from NASA Ames Research Center's O/OREOS nano satellite and the University of Michigan's RAX-1 nano satellite, where clear differences are detected between the magnetic properties as measured before launch and those that fit the observed data. To date this is the first known on-orbit verification of the attitude Dynamics model of a passively magnetically stabilized spacecraft.
By R. Burton, S. Rock, J. Springmann, J. Cutler

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