Development of Magnetometer-Based Orbit and Attitude Determination for Nanosatellites
Wright, Thomas Jonathan
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Attitude and orbit determination are critical parts of nanosatellite mission operations. The ability to perform attitude and orbit determination autonomously could lead to a wider array of mission possibilities for nanosatellites. This research examines the feasibility of using low-cost magnetometer measurements as a method of autonomous, simultaneous orbit and attitude determination for the novel application of redundancy on nanosatellites. Extended Kalman Filters (EKFs) are developed for attitude determination and orbit determination. Simulations are run to compare the developed systems with previous work on attitude and orbit determination. The EKFs are combined to provide both attitude and orbit determination simultaneously. Simulations show that this approach for simultaneous, autonomous attitude and orbit determination on nanosatellites provides 8.5 degrees and 12.5 km of attitude and orbit knowledge, respectively. The results of the simulations are then validated using Hardware-In-The-Loop testing. Additionally, a Helmholtz cage is evaluated for future use in the Hardware-In-The-Loop test setup.