Precise attitude determination strategy for spacecraft based on information fusion of attitude sensors: Gyros/GPS/Star-sensor

  • Mao, Xinyuan (School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology) ;
  • Du, Xiaojing (School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology) ;
  • Fang, Hui (School of Aerospace Engineering, Beijing Institute of Technology)
  • Received : 2012.09.21
  • Accepted : 2013.03.14
  • Published : 2013.03.30


The rigorous requirements of modern spacecraft missions necessitate a precise attitude determination strategy. This paper mainly researches that, based on three space-borne attitude sensors: 3-axis rate gyros, 3-antenna GPS receiver and star-sensor. To obtain global attitude estimation after an information fusion process, a feedback-involved Federated Kalman Filter (FKF), consisting of two subsystem Kalman filters (Gyros/GPS and Gyros/Star-sensor), is established. In these filters, the state equation is implemented according to the spacecraft's kinematic attitude model, while the residual error models of GPS and star-sensor observed attitude are utilized, to establish two observation equations, respectively. Taking the sensors' different update rates into account, these two subsystem filters are conducted under a variable step size state prediction method. To improve the fault tolerant capacity of the attitude determination system, this paper designs malfunction warning factors, based on the principle of ${\chi}^2$ residual verification. Mathematical simulation indicates that the information fusion strategy overwhelms the disadvantages of each sensor, acquiring global attitude estimation with precision at a 2-arcsecs level. Although a subsystem encounters malfunction, FKF still reaches precise and stable accuracy. In this process, malfunction warning factors advice malfunctions correctly and effectively.


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