Adaptive estimation of spacecraft attitude from vector observations using a quaternion particle filter

Yaakov Oshman, Avishy Carmi

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


This paper presents an extension of the recently presented genetic algorithm-embedded quaternion particle filter (GA-QPF). Belonging to the class of Monte Carlo sequential methods, the GA-QPF is an estimator that uses approximate numerical representation techniques for performing the otherwise exact time propagation and measurement update of potentially non-Gaussian probability density functions in the inherently nonlinear attitude estimation problem. The spacecraft attitude is represented via the quaternion of rotation, and a genetic algorithm is used to estimate the gyro biases, allowing to estimate just the quaternion via the particle filter. An adaptive version of the GA-QPF is presented herein, that extends the applicability of this filter to problems with highly uncertain measurement noise distributions. The adaptive algorithm estimates the measurement noise distribution on the fly, along with the estimation of the spacecraft attitude and gyro biases. A simulation study is used to demonstrate the performance of the adaptive algorithm using real data obtained from the Technion's TechSAT satellite, whose three-axis magnetometer's data is non-Gaussian. The simulation, which compares the performance of the filter to two alternative algorithms that are aware of the true statistical nature of the measurement noise, demonstrates the viability of the new algorithm.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMalcolm D. Shuster Astronautics Symposium - Advances in the Astronautical Sciences - Proceedings of the University at Buffalo, State University of New York/AAS Malcolm D. Shuster Astronautics Symp.
Number of pages17
StatePublished - 22 May 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventMalcolm D. Shuster Astronautics Symposium - Grand Island, NY, United States
Duration: 12 Jun 200515 Jun 2005

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


ConferenceMalcolm D. Shuster Astronautics Symposium
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityGrand Island, NY

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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