Pseudo-linear approach to nanosatellite attitude estimation and magnetometer calibration

Osama Khurshid, Jorma Selkainaho, Esa Kallio, Arto Visala, Halil Ersin Soken

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review


This paper presents the pseudo-linear estimation approach to the high-rate spinning small spacecraft attitude estimation problem. The sensor suit utilised in the presented approach uses gyro, magnetometer and sun-sensor measurements. The presented estimation technique has been designed particularly for the problem of attitude determination during the Aalto-1 nanosatellite's Plasma Brake Experiment (PBE). The design of the PBE demands the satellite to be spun up to 200 deg/s for deploying the tether by the use of centrifugal force resulting from the spin motion. The spinning up of the satellite is achieved only through the magnetic actuation. The used spin controller has been proven to be very robust for different initial conditions and operating scenarios. However, it demands accurate attitude estimates in order to efficiently and successfully spin the satellite up to the required angular velocity. Magnetometers are the most important sensors amongst the available onboard for the presented setup. The reason for this is that the system has the inputs only from the magnetometers and gyros during the eclipse period. It is necessary to estimate the magnetometer biases because the systems are very closely integrated and there is a higher risk of electromagnetic interference in them. A pseudo-linear Kalman Filter (PSLKF) has been studied. The two cases of integrated and separate attitude estimation and magnetometer calibration algorithms have been studied and analyzed in the perspective of their use onboard a nanosatellite.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of 8th International Conference on Recent Advances in Space Technologies, RAST 2017
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781538616031
Publication statusPublished - 4 Aug 2017
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational Conference on Recent Advances in Space Technologies - Istanbul, Turkey
Duration: 19 Jun 201722 Jun 2017
Conference number: 8


ConferenceInternational Conference on Recent Advances in Space Technologies
Abbreviated titleRAST


  • attitude estimation
  • nanosatellite
  • pseudo-linear Kalman filter

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