Analysis of Square-Root Kalman Filters for Angles-Only Orbital Navigation and the Effects of Sensor Accuracy on State Observability

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Schmidt, Jason Knudsen
angles-only; bearings-only; Kalman Filter; orbital rendezvous; proximity operations; Relative navigation; Aerospace Engineering
thesis / dissertation description
Angles-only navigation is simple, robust, and well proven in many applications. However, it is sometimes ill-conditioned for orbital rendezvous and proximity operations because, without a direct range measurement, the distance to approaching satellites must be estimated by firing thrusters and observing the change in the target's bearing. Nevertheless, the simplicity of angles-only navigation gives it great appeal. The viability of this technique for relative navigation is examined by building a high-fidelity simulation and evaluating the sensitivity of the system to sensor errors. The relative performances of square-root filtering methods, including Potter, Carlson, and UD factorization filters, are compared to the conventional and Joseph formulations. Filter performance is evaluated during closed-loop "station keeping" operations in simulation.