Kalman filtering for relative spacecraft attitude and position estimation Academic Article uri icon


  • In this paper, a novel approach is developed for relative state estimation of spacecraft flying in formation. The approach uses information from an optical sensor to provide multiple line-of-sight vectors from one spacecraft to another. The line-of-sight measurements are coupled with gyro measurements and dynamical models in an extended Kalman filter to determine relative attitude, position, and gyro biases. The quaternion is used to describe the relative kinematics, whereas general relative orbital equations are used to describe the positional dynamics. Three different attitude formulations are presented. The first estimates the relative attitude and individual gyro biases for the chief and deputy spacecraft The second estimates the relative attitude, and the relative velocity bias and the deputy gyro bias. The third estimates the relative attitude, and the relative velocity bias and the chief gyro bias. Simulation results indicate that the combined sensor/estimator approach provides accurate relative attitude and position estimates. Copyright 2006 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, S., Crassidis, J. L., Cheng, Y., Fosbury, A. M., & Junkins, J. L.

citation count

  • 225

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Son-Goo||Crassidis, John L||Cheng, Yang||Fosbury, Adam M||Junkins, John L

publication date

  • January 2007