Robust Spacecraft Attitude Determination and Control

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Goes.gif Trmmsc.gif Sampex.gif


Research is being performed to develop improved spacecraft attitude determination and control algorithms. In particular, robust algorithms are being sought that provide attitude information with a minimal complement of attitude sensors. Also, research is being performed to improve the accuracy of existing hardware sensors through software modifications. Some current and past projects include:

  • Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP)
  • Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX)
  • Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM)
  • Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES)

This work is sponsored by NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center. Results from research can be obtained from:


[1] Crassidis, J.L., Cheng, Y., and Nebelecky, C.K., “Decentralized Attitude Estimation Using a Quaternion Covariance Intersection Approach,” AAS F. Landis Markley Astronautics Symposium, Cambridge, MD, June-July 2008, AAS Paper #2008-284.


[2] Markley, F.L., Cheng, Y., Crassidis, J.L., and Oshman, Y., “Averaging Quaternions,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 30, No. 4, July-Aug. 2007, pp. 1193-1196.


[3] Crassidis, J.L., Markley, F.L., and Cheng, Y., “A Survey of Nonlinear Attitude Estimation Methods,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 30, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2007, pp. 12-28.


[4] Kumar, A., and Crassidis, J.L., “Colored-Noise Kalman Filter for Vibration Mitigation of Position/Attitude Estimation Systems,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Hilton Head, SC, Aug. 2007, AIAA Paper #2007-6516.


[5] Lam, Q., and Crassidis, J.L., “Evaluation of a Multiple Model Adaptive Estimation for Space Vehicle’s Enhanced Navigation Solution,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Hilton Head, SC, Aug. 2007, AIAA Paper #2007-6816.


[6] Cole, C.L., and Crassidis, J.L., “Fast Star Pattern Recognition Using Spherical Triangles,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 29, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2006, pp. 64-71.


[7] Cheng, Y., Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “Attitude Estimation for Large Field-of-View Sensors,” The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 54, Nos. 3-4, July-Dec. 2006, pp. 433-448.


[8] Crassidis, J.L., Lai, K.-L., and Harman, R.R. “Real-Time Attitude-Independent Three-Axis Magnetometer Calibration,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 28, No. 1, Jan.-Feb. 2005, pp. 115-120.


[9] Crassidis, J.L., and Cole, C.L., “Fast Star Pattern Recognition using Spherical Triangles,” AIAA/AAS Astrodynamics Specialist Conference and Exhibit, Providence, RI, Aug. 2004, AIAA Paper #2004-5389.


[10] Cheng, Y., and Crassidis, J.L., “Particle Filtering for Sequential Spacecraft Attitude Estimation,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Providence, RI, Aug. 2004, AIAA Paper #2004-5337.


[11] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “Unscented Filtering for Spacecraft Attitude Estimation,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 26, No. 4, July-Aug. 2003, pp. 536-542.


[12] Crassidis, J.L., Lai, K.-L., and Harman, R.R., “Real-Time Attitude-Independent Three-Axis Magnetometer Calibration,” Flight Mechanics Symposium, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, Oct. 2003, NASA CP-2003-212246.


[13] Lai, K.-L., Crassidis, J.L., and Harman, R.R., “In-Space Spacecraft Alignment Calibration Using the Unscented Filter,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Austin, TX, Aug. 2003, AIAA Paper #2003-5563.


[14] Singla, P., Crassidis, J.L., and Junkins, J.L., “Spacecraft Angular Rate Estimation Algorithms for Star Tracker-Based Attitude Determination,” 13th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, Ponce, Puerto Rico, Feb. 2003, AAS Paper # 03-191.


[15] Sun, D., and Crassidis, J.L., “Observability Analysis of Six Degree of Freedom State Determination Using Vector Observations,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 25, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 2002, pp. 1149-1157.


[16] Crassidis, J.L., “Angular Velocity Determination Directly from Star Tracker Measurements,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 25, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 2002, pp. 1165-1168.


[17] Kim, J.-R., and Crassidis, J.L., “Robust Spacecraft Attitude Control Using Model-Error Control Synthesis,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Monterey, CA, Aug. 2002, AIAA Paper #02-4576.


[18] Singla, P., Griffith, D.T., Crassidis, J.L., and Junkins, J.L., “Attitude Determination and Autonomous On-Orbit Calibration of Star Tracker for GIFTS Mission,” AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting, San Antonio, TX, Jan. 2002, AAS Paper #02-101.


[19] Crassidis, J.L., Alonso, R., and Junkins, J.L., “Optimal Attitude and Position Determination from Line-of-Sight Measurements,” The Journal of the Astronautical Sciences, Vol. 48, Nos. 2-3, April-Sept. 2000, pp. 391-408.


[20] Crassidis, J.L., Vadali, S.R., and Markley, F.L., “Optimal Variable-Structure Control Tracking of Spacecraft Maneuvers,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control and Dynamics, Vol. 23, No. 3, May-June 2000, pp. 564-566.


[21] Yim, J.R., Crassidis, J.L., and Junkins, J.L., “Autonomous Orbit Navigation of Interplanetary Spacecraft,” AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference, Denver, CO, Aug. 2000, AIAA Paper #00-3936.


[22] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “Nonlinear Predictive Control of Spacecraft,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 20, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1997, pp. 1096-1103.


[23] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “A Minimum Model Error Approach for Attitude Estimation,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 20, No. 6, Nov.-Dec. 1997, pp. 1241-1247.


[24] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “Predictive Filtering for Attitude Estimation Without Rate Sensors,” AIAA Journal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics, Vol. 20, No. 3, May-June 1997, pp. 522-527.


[25] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “A Predictive Attitude Determination Algorithm,” Proceedings of the Flight Mechanics/Estimation Theory Symposium, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, May 1997, pp. 249-263.


[25] Crassidis, J.L., Markley, F.L., Kyle, A.M., and Blackman, K., “Attitude Determination Designs for the GOES Spacecraft,” Proceedings of the SPIE International Symposium on Optical Science, Engineering, and Instrumentation, Denver, CO, Vol. 2812, Aug. 1996, Paper #74.


[27] Crassidis, J.L., and Markley, F.L., “Attitude Estimation Using Modified Rodrigues Parameters,” Proceedings of the Flight Mechanics/Estimation Theory Symposium, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, May 1996, pp. 71-83.


[28] Crassidis, J.L., Andrews, S.F., Markley, F.L., and Ha, K., “Contingency Designs for Attitude Determination of TRMM,” Proceedings of the Flight Mechanics/Estimation Theory Symposium, NASA-Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, May 1995, pp. 419-433.