Magnetometer-Only Attitude Determination Using Novel Two-Step Kalman Filter Approach


Determining spacecraft attitude in real time using only magnetometer data presents a challenging filtering problem. A flexible and computationally efficient method for solving the spacecraft attitude using only an Inexpensive and reliable magnetometer would be a useful option for satellite missions, particularly those with modest budgets. The primary challenge is that magnetometers only instantaneously resolve two axes of the spacecraft attitude. Typically, magnetometers are used in conjunction with other sensors to resolve all three axes. However, by using a filter over an adequately long orbit arc, the magnetometer data can yield full attitude, and in real time. The method presented solves the problem using a two-step extended Kalman filter. In the first step, the magnetic field data are filtered to obtain the magnetic field derivative vector, which is combined with the magnetic field vector in the second step to fully resolve the attitude. A baseline scenario is developed, and a parametric study is conducted using the parameters of interest.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

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Article - Journal

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