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Special Issue "Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control"

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A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2015)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Anton de Ruiter (Website)

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto, M5B 2K3, Canada
Interests: guidance; navigation; control and dynamics of aerospace systems; control theory; state estimation theory
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. John Enright (Website)

Department of Aerospace Engineering, Ryerson University, 350 Victoria Street, Toronto M5B 2K3, Canada
Phone: 1-416-979-5000x4174
Interests: spacecraft attitude estimation; star trackers; sun sensors; sensor processing; sensor calibration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Emerging applications in small spacecraft ADCS, on-orbit proximity operations and planetary exploration, are driving researchers to develop innovative GNC technologies. We are pleased to announce this special issue of Sensors, and invite manuscripts that highlight recent advances in this field. The scope of this special issue will include:

  • Innovative designs for GNC sensors
  • Novel sensing concepts and architectures
  • Improvements in data processing techniques that enhance GNC performance.
  • Case studies illustrating advances in sensor modelling, calibration, testing, and flight experiments

Enquiries about the issue’s scope can be directed to the Guest Editors.

Prof. Dr. Anton de Ruiter
Prof. Dr. John Enright
Guest Editors

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • attitude sensors
  • spacecraft guidance
  • flight experiment
  • spacecraft sensors
  • gps
  • star sensor
  • sun sensor
  • magnetometer
  • calibration
  • lidar

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle A Novel Method for Precise Onboard Real-Time Orbit Determination with a Standalone GPS Receiver
Sensors 2015, 15(12), 30403-30418; doi:10.3390/s151229805
Received: 9 October 2015 / Revised: 20 November 2015 / Accepted: 1 December 2015 / Published: 4 December 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (7091 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Satellite remote sensing systems require accurate, autonomous and real-time orbit determinations (RTOD) for geo-referencing. Onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) has widely been used to undertake such tasks. In this paper, a novel RTOD method achieving decimeter precision using GPS carrier phases, required [...] Read more.
Satellite remote sensing systems require accurate, autonomous and real-time orbit determinations (RTOD) for geo-referencing. Onboard Global Positioning System (GPS) has widely been used to undertake such tasks. In this paper, a novel RTOD method achieving decimeter precision using GPS carrier phases, required by China’s HY2A and ZY3 missions, is presented. A key to the algorithm success is the introduction of a new parameter, termed pseudo-ambiguity. This parameter combines the phase ambiguity, the orbit, and clock offset errors of the GPS broadcast ephemeris together to absorb a large part of the combined error. Based on the analysis of the characteristics of the orbit and clock offset errors, the pseudo-ambiguity can be modeled as a random walk, and estimated in an extended Kalman filter. Experiments of processing real data from HY2A and ZY3, simulating onboard operational scenarios of these two missions, are performed using the developed software SATODS. Results have demonstrated that the position and velocity accuracy (3D RMS) of 0.2–0.4 m and 0.2–0.4 mm/s, respectively, are achieved using dual-frequency carrier phases for HY2A, and slightly worse results for ZY3. These results show it is feasible to obtain orbit accuracy at decimeter level of 3–5 dm for position and 0.3–0.5 mm/s for velocity with this RTOD method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle Reducing Systematic Centroid Errors Induced by Fiber Optic Faceplates in Intensified High-Accuracy Star Trackers
Sensors 2015, 15(6), 12389-12409; doi:10.3390/s150612389
Received: 5 February 2015 / Accepted: 20 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
PDF Full-text (1961 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Compared with traditional star trackers, intensified high-accuracy star trackers equipped with an image intensifier exhibit overwhelmingly superior dynamic performance. However, the multiple-fiber-optic faceplate structure in the image intensifier complicates the optoelectronic detecting system of star trackers and may cause considerable systematic centroid [...] Read more.
Compared with traditional star trackers, intensified high-accuracy star trackers equipped with an image intensifier exhibit overwhelmingly superior dynamic performance. However, the multiple-fiber-optic faceplate structure in the image intensifier complicates the optoelectronic detecting system of star trackers and may cause considerable systematic centroid errors and poor attitude accuracy. All the sources of systematic centroid errors related to fiber optic faceplates (FOFPs) throughout the detection process of the optoelectronic system were analyzed. Based on the general expression of the systematic centroid error deduced in the frequency domain and the FOFP modulation transfer function, an accurate expression that described the systematic centroid error of FOFPs was obtained. Furthermore, reduction of the systematic error between the optical lens and the input FOFP of the intensifier, the one among multiple FOFPs and the one between the output FOFP of the intensifier and the imaging chip of the detecting system were discussed. Two important parametric constraints were acquired from the analysis. The correctness of the analysis on the optoelectronic detecting system was demonstrated through simulation and experiment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle Coarse Initial Orbit Determination for a Geostationary Satellite Using Single-Epoch GPS Measurements
Sensors 2015, 15(4), 7878-7897; doi:10.3390/s150407878
Received: 22 October 2014 / Revised: 9 March 2015 / Accepted: 27 March 2015 / Published: 1 April 2015
PDF Full-text (1291 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A practical algorithm is proposed for determining the orbit of a geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite using single-epoch measurements from a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver under the sparse visibility of the GPS satellites. The algorithm uses three components of a state vector [...] Read more.
A practical algorithm is proposed for determining the orbit of a geostationary orbit (GEO) satellite using single-epoch measurements from a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver under the sparse visibility of the GPS satellites. The algorithm uses three components of a state vector to determine the satellite’s state, even when it is impossible to apply the classical single-point solutions (SPS). Through consideration of the characteristics of the GEO orbital elements and GPS measurements, the components of the state vector are reduced to three. However, the algorithm remains sufficiently accurate for a GEO satellite. The developed algorithm was tested on simulated measurements from two or three GPS satellites, and the calculated maximum position error was found to be less than approximately 40 km or even several kilometers within the geometric range, even when the classical SPS solution was unattainable. In addition, extended Kalman filter (EKF) tests of a GEO satellite with the estimated initial state were performed to validate the algorithm. In the EKF, a reliable dynamic model was adapted to reduce the probability of divergence that can be caused by large errors in the initial state. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle A Model-Based 3D Template Matching Technique for Pose Acquisition of an Uncooperative Space Object
Sensors 2015, 15(3), 6360-6382; doi:10.3390/s150306360
Received: 28 December 2014 / Revised: 6 February 2015 / Accepted: 9 March 2015 / Published: 16 March 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4098 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a customized three-dimensional template matching technique for autonomous pose determination of uncooperative targets. This topic is relevant to advanced space applications, like active debris removal and on-orbit servicing. The proposed technique is model-based and produces estimates of the target [...] Read more.
This paper presents a customized three-dimensional template matching technique for autonomous pose determination of uncooperative targets. This topic is relevant to advanced space applications, like active debris removal and on-orbit servicing. The proposed technique is model-based and produces estimates of the target pose without any prior pose information, by processing three-dimensional point clouds provided by a LIDAR. These estimates are then used to initialize a pose tracking algorithm. Peculiar features of the proposed approach are the use of a reduced number of templates and the idea of building the database of templates on-line, thus significantly reducing the amount of on-board stored data with respect to traditional techniques. An algorithm variant is also introduced aimed at further accelerating the pose acquisition time and reducing the computational cost. Technique performance is investigated within a realistic numerical simulation environment comprising a target model, LIDAR operation and various target-chaser relative dynamics scenarios, relevant to close-proximity flight operations. Specifically, the capability of the proposed techniques to provide a pose solution suitable to initialize the tracking algorithm is demonstrated, as well as their robustness against highly variable pose conditions determined by the relative dynamics. Finally, a criterion for autonomous failure detection of the presented techniques is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle A Velocity-Based Impedance Control System for a Low Impact Docking Mechanism (LIDM)
Sensors 2014, 14(12), 22998-23016; doi:10.3390/s141222998
Received: 19 September 2014 / Revised: 20 November 2014 / Accepted: 26 November 2014 / Published: 3 December 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4047 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, an impedance control algorithm based on velocity for capturing two low impact docking mechanisms (LIDMs) is presented. The main idea of this algorithm is to track desired forces when the position errors of two LIDMs are random by designing [...] Read more.
In this paper, an impedance control algorithm based on velocity for capturing two low impact docking mechanisms (LIDMs) is presented. The main idea of this algorithm is to track desired forces when the position errors of two LIDMs are random by designing the relationship between the velocity and contact forces measured by a load sensing ring to achieve low impact docking. In this paper, the governing equation of an impedance controller between the deviation of forces and velocity is derived, and simulations are designed to verify how impedance parameters affect the control characteristics. The performance of the presented control algorithm is validated by using the MATLAB and ADAMS software for capturing simulations. The results of capturing simulations demonstrate that the impedance control algorithm can respond fast and has excellent robustness when the environmental errors are random, and the contact forces and torques satisfy the low impact requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Efficient High-Rate Satellite Clock Estimation for PPP Ambiguity Resolution Using Carrier-Ranges
Sensors 2014, 14(12), 22300-22312; doi:10.3390/s141222300
Received: 26 June 2014 / Revised: 18 September 2014 / Accepted: 18 November 2014 / Published: 25 November 2014
PDF Full-text (554 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to catch up the short-term clock variation of GNSS satellites, clock corrections must be estimated and updated at a high-rate for Precise Point Positioning (PPP). This estimation is already very time-consuming for the GPS constellation only as a great number [...] Read more.
In order to catch up the short-term clock variation of GNSS satellites, clock corrections must be estimated and updated at a high-rate for Precise Point Positioning (PPP). This estimation is already very time-consuming for the GPS constellation only as a great number of ambiguities need to be simultaneously estimated. However, on the one hand better estimates are expected by including more stations, and on the other hand satellites from different GNSS systems must be processed integratively for a reliable multi-GNSS positioning service. To alleviate the heavy computational burden, epoch-differenced observations are always employed where ambiguities are eliminated. As the epoch-differenced method can only derive temporal clock changes which have to be aligned to the absolute clocks but always in a rather complicated way, in this paper, an efficient method for high-rate clock estimation is proposed using the concept of “carrier-range” realized by means of PPP with integer ambiguity resolution. Processing procedures for both post- and real-time processing are developed, respectively. The experimental validation shows that the computation time could be reduced to about one sixth of that of the existing methods for post-processing and less than 1 s for processing a single epoch of a network with about 200 stations in real-time mode after all ambiguities are fixed. This confirms that the proposed processing strategy will enable the high-rate clock estimation for future multi-GNSS networks in post-processing and possibly also in real-time mode. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle A Brightness-Referenced Star Identification Algorithm for APS Star Trackers
Sensors 2014, 14(10), 18498-18514; doi:10.3390/s141018498
Received: 22 May 2014 / Revised: 2 September 2014 / Accepted: 23 September 2014 / Published: 8 October 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (829 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Star trackers are currently the most accurate spacecraft attitude sensors. As a result, they are widely used in remote sensing satellites. Since traditional charge-coupled device (CCD)-based star trackers have a limited sensitivity range and dynamic range, the matching process for a star [...] Read more.
Star trackers are currently the most accurate spacecraft attitude sensors. As a result, they are widely used in remote sensing satellites. Since traditional charge-coupled device (CCD)-based star trackers have a limited sensitivity range and dynamic range, the matching process for a star tracker is typically not very sensitive to star brightness. For active pixel sensor (APS) star trackers, the intensity of an imaged star is valuable information that can be used in star identification process. In this paper an improved brightness referenced star identification algorithm is presented. This algorithm utilizes the k-vector search theory and adds imaged stars’ intensities to narrow the search scope and therefore increase the efficiency of the matching process. Based on different imaging conditions (slew, bright bodies, etc.) the developed matching algorithm operates in one of two identification modes: a three-star mode, and a four-star mode. If the reference bright stars (the stars brighter than three magnitude) show up, the algorithm runs the three-star mode and efficiency is further improved. The proposed method was compared with other two distinctive methods the pyramid and geometric voting methods. All three methods were tested with simulation data and actual in orbit data from the APS star tracker of ZY-3. Using a catalog composed of 1500 stars, the results show that without false stars the efficiency of this new method is 4~5 times that of the pyramid method and 35~37 times that of the geometric method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Angle Computation and Calibration Algorithm of Bio-Inspired Sky-Light Polarization Navigation Sensor
Sensors 2014, 14(9), 17068-17088; doi:10.3390/s140917068
Received: 27 June 2014 / Revised: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 10 September 2014 / Published: 15 September 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Navigation plays a vital role in our daily life. As traditional and commonly used navigation technologies, Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can provide accurate location information, but suffer from the accumulative error of inertial sensors and cannot [...] Read more.
Navigation plays a vital role in our daily life. As traditional and commonly used navigation technologies, Inertial Navigation System (INS) and Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) can provide accurate location information, but suffer from the accumulative error of inertial sensors and cannot be used in a satellite denied environment. The remarkable navigation ability of animals shows that the pattern of the polarization sky can be used for navigation. A bio-inspired POLarization Navigation Sensor (POLNS) is constructed to detect the polarization of skylight. Contrary to the previous approach, we utilize all the outputs of POLNS to compute input polarization angle, based on Least Squares, which provides optimal angle estimation. In addition, a new sensor calibration algorithm is presented, in which the installation angle errors and sensor biases are taken into consideration. Derivation and implementation of our calibration algorithm are discussed in detail. To evaluate the performance of our algorithms, simulation and real data test are done to compare our algorithms with several exiting algorithms. Comparison results indicate that our algorithms are superior to the others and are more feasible and effective in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)
Open AccessArticle The Open Service Signal in Space Navigation Data Comparison of the Global Positioning System and the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System
Sensors 2014, 14(8), 15182-15202; doi:10.3390/s140815182
Received: 17 June 2014 / Revised: 24 July 2014 / Accepted: 15 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (974 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
More and more Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs) have been developed and are in operation. Before integrating information on various GNSSs, the differences between the various systems must be studied first. This research focuses on analyzing the navigation data differences between the [...] Read more.
More and more Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSSs) have been developed and are in operation. Before integrating information on various GNSSs, the differences between the various systems must be studied first. This research focuses on analyzing the navigation data differences between the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the United States’ Global Positioning System (GPS). In addition to explaining the impact caused by these two different coordinate and time systems, this research uses an actual open service signal in space (SIS) for both GPS and BDS to analyze their current system performance. Five data quality analysis (DQA) mechanisms are proposed in this research to validate both systems’ SIS navigation data. These five DQAs evaluate the differences in ephemeris and almanac messages from both systems for stability and accuracy. After all of the DQAs, the different issues related to GPS and BDS satellite information are presented. Finally, based on these DQA results, this research provides suggested resolutions for the combined use of GPS and BDS for navigation and guidance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sensor Innovations for Spacecraft Guidance, Navigation, and Control)

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