Filtering-Based Three-Axis Attitude Determination Package for Spinning Spacecraft: Preliminary Results with Arase

Söken H. E., Sakai S., Asamura K., Nakamura Y., Takashima T., Shinohara I.

AEROSPACE, vol.7, no.7, 2020 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 7
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.3390/aerospace7070097
  • Journal Name: AEROSPACE
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus
  • Keywords: attitude determination, spinning spacecraft, Arase, attitude filter
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


JAXA's ERG (Exploration of Energization and Radiation in Geospace) Spacecraft, which is nicknamed Arase, was launched on 20 December 2016. Arase is a spin-stabilized and Sun-oriented spacecraft. Its mission is to explore how relativistic electrons in the radiation belts are generated during space storms. Two different on-ground attitude determination algorithms are designed for the mission: A TRIAD-based algorithm that inherits from old missions and a filtering-based new algorithm. This paper, first, discusses the design of the filtering-based attitude determination algorithm, which is mainly based on an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF), specifically designed for spinning spacecraft (SpinUKF). The SpinUKF uses a newly introduced set of attitude parameters (i.e., spin-parameters) to represent the three-axis attitude of the spacecraft and runs UKF for attitude estimation. The paper then presents the preliminary attitude estimation results for the spacecraft that are obtained after the launch. The results are presented along with the encountered challenges and suggested solutions for them. These preliminary attitude estimation results show that the expected accuracy of the fine attitude estimation for the spacecraft is less than 0.5 degrees.