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Attitude and Trajectory Estimation for Small Suborbital Payloads
KTH, School of Electrical Engineering (EES), Space and Plasma Physics. Royal Institute of Technology KTH.
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Sounding rockets and small suborbital payloads provide a means for research in situ of the atmosphere and ionosphere. The trajectory and the attitude of the payload are critical for the evaluation of the scientific measurements and experiments. The trajectory refers the location of the measurement, while the attitude determines the orientation of the sensors.

This thesis covers methods of trajectory and attitude reconstruction implemented in several experiments with small suborbital payloads carried out by the Department of Space and Plasma Physics in 2012--2016.

The problem of trajectory reconstruction based on raw GPS data was studied for small suborbital payloads. It was formulated as a global least squares optimization problem. The method was applied to flight data of two suborbital payloads of the RAIN REXUS experiment. Positions and velocities were obtained with high accuracy.

Based on the trajectory reconstruction technique, atmospheric densities, temperatures, and horizontal wind speeds below 80 km were obtained using rigid free falling spheres of the LEEWAVES experiment. Comparison with independent data indicates that the results are reliable for densities below 70 km, temperatures below 50 km, and wind speeds below 45 km.

Attitude reconstruction of suborbital payloads from yaw-pitch-roll Euler angles was studied. The Euler angles were established by two methods: a global optimization method and an Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) technique. The comparison of the results shows that the global optimization method provides a more accurate fit to the observations than the UKF.

Improving the results of the falling sphere experiments requires understanding of the attitude motion of the sphere. An analytical consideration was developed for a free falling and axisymmetric sphere under aerodynamic torques. The motion can generally be defined as a superposition of precession and nutation. These motion phenomena were modeled numerically and compared to flight data.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm, Sweden: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2017.
Series
TRITA-EE, ISSN 1653-5146
Keyword [en]
free falling, least squares optimization, unscented Kalman filter
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Research subject
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206965ISBN: 978-91-7729-427-6 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:kth-206965DiVA: diva2:1094617
Public defence
2017-06-02, Q2, Osquldas väg 10, Stockholm, 14:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Note

QC 20170510

Available from: 2017-05-10 Created: 2017-05-10 Last updated: 2017-06-02Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Post-flight trajectory reconstruction of suborbital free-flyers using GPS raw data
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Post-flight trajectory reconstruction of suborbital free-flyers using GPS raw data
(English)In: Journal of Geodetic Science, ISSN 2081-9919, E-ISSN 2081-9943Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

This paper describes the reconstruction of postflight trajectories of suborbital free flying units by using logged GPS raw data. We took the reconstruction as a global least squares optimization problem, using both the pseudo-range and Doppler observables, and solved it by using the trust-region-reflective algorithm, which enabled navigational solutions of high accuracy. The code tracking was implemented with a large number of correlators and least squares curve fitting, in order to improve the precision of the code start times, while a more conventional phased lock loop was used for Doppler tracking.We proposed a weighting scheme to account for fast signal strength variation due to free-flier fast rotation, and a penalty for jerk to achieve a smooth solution. We applied these methods to flight data of two suborbital free flying units launched on REXUS 12 sounding rocket, reconstructing the trajectory, receiver clock error and wind up rates. The trajectory exhibits a parabola with the apogee around 80 km, and the velocity profile shows the details of payload wobbling. The wind up rates obtained match the measurements from onboard angular rate sensors.

Keyword
global optimization, least squares problem, trajectory reconstruction
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206847 (URN)
Note

QC 20170509

Available from: 2017-05-09 Created: 2017-05-09 Last updated: 2017-05-10Bibliographically approved
2. Atmosphere density measurements using GPS data from rigid falling spheres
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Atmosphere density measurements using GPS data from rigid falling spheres
2017 (English)In: Atmospheric Measurement Techniques Discussions, ISSN 1867-8610, E-ISSN 1867-8610Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Atmospheric density profiles in the stratosphere and mesosphere are determined by means of low cost Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers on in situ rigid falling spheres released from a sounding rocket. Values below an altitude of 80 km are obtained. Aerodynamic drag relates atmospheric densities to other variables such as velocities of spheres, drag coefficients,and reference area. The densities are reconstructed by iterative solution. The calculated density is reasonably accurate,with deviation within 10% with respect to the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forecasts ( ECMWF) reference value. The atmospheric temperature and wind profiles are obtained as well, and compared to independent data.

National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206848 (URN)
Note

QC 20170509

Available from: 2017-05-09 Created: 2017-05-09 Last updated: 2017-05-10Bibliographically approved
3. Attitude reconstruction of suborbital small spacecrafts using a global optimization method
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Attitude reconstruction of suborbital small spacecrafts using a global optimization method
2017 (English)In: Acta Astronautica, ISSN 0094-5765, E-ISSN 1879-2030Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Attitude motion of suborbital payloads is closely related to the quality of scientic measurements. In this paper, attitude reconstruction of suborbital payloads in terms of yaw-pitch-roll Euler angle is studied, according to measurements of magnetic fields from a magnetometer and angular velocities from a gyro sensor. To avoid complex dynamical modelling, the kinematic equations were used. The Euler angles were established by using an global optimization method. Moreover, the Euler angles were estimated by employing Unscented Kalman Filter (UKF) technique. The comparison of the optimized results to the ones from the UKF shows that the global optimization method provides higher accuracy than the UKF.

National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206849 (URN)
Note

QC 20170509

Available from: 2017-05-09 Created: 2017-05-09 Last updated: 2017-05-10Bibliographically approved
4. Precession and nutation of a free flying and axi-symmetric sphere
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Precession and nutation of a free flying and axi-symmetric sphere
2017 (English)In: Acta Astronautica, ISSN 0094-5765, E-ISSN 1879-2030Article in journal (Other academic) Submitted
Abstract [en]

Attitude motion of small suborbital probes is closely related to scientic measurements performed on these probes. Attitude dynamics of a free ying and axi-symmetric sphere is studied in this paper. The sphere is exposed to aerodynamic torques due to the deviation between the center of mass and the geometric center. For some system parameters and initial motion conditions, the attitude motion can be thought of as regular precession, as well as superposition of precession and nutation. These motion phenomena were modeled and some physical quantities were formulated to describe them. For regular precession to occur, the aerodynamic torque must be perpendicular to the total angular momentum, and the angular momentum of non-precession must be aligned with the axis of symmetry. For superposition motion, the aerodynamic torque must be perpendicular to the total angular momentum,and the angular momentum of non-precession must not be aligned with the axis of symmetry. Numerical simulations verify these analysis. Eventually, these models are used to analyze flight data.

National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-206850 (URN)
Note

QC 20170509

Available from: 2017-05-09 Created: 2017-05-09 Last updated: 2017-05-10Bibliographically approved

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