Autonomous attitude estimation via star sensing and pattern recognition Conference Paper uri icon


  • Results are reported on the development of an autonomous, onboard, near real time spacecraft attitude estimation technique. The approach uses CCD based star sensors to digitize relative star positions. Three microcomputers are envisioned, configured in parallel, to: (1) determine star image centroids and delete spurious images; (2) identify measured stars with stars in an onboard catalog and determine discrete attitude estimates; (3) integrate gyro rate measurements and determine optimal real time attitude estimates for use in the control system and for feedback to the star identification algorithm. Algorithms for the star identification are presented. The discrete attitude estimation algorithm recovers thermally varying interlock angles between two star sensors. The optimal state estimation process recovers rate gyro biases in addition to real time attitude estimates.

published proceedings

  • Flight Mechanics/Estimation Theory Symposium

author list (cited authors)

  • Junkins, J. L., & Strikwerda, T. E.

complete list of authors

  • Junkins, JL||Strikwerda, TE

publication date

  • April 1979