The accuracy of X-ray pulsar-based navigation is greatly affected by the Doppler effect caused by the spacecraft orbital motion and the systematic biases introduced by the pulsar directional error, spacecraft-borne clock error, etc. In this paper, an innovative navigation method simultaneously employing the pulse phase (PP), the difference of two neighbor PPs (DPP) and the Doppler frequency (DF) of X-ray pulsars as measurements is proposed to solve this problem. With the aid of the spacecraft orbital dynamics, a single pair of PP and DF relative to the spacecraft’s state estimation error can be estimated by using the joint probability density function of the arrival photon timestamps as the likelihood function. The systematic biases involved to the PP is proved to be nearly invariant over two adjacent navigation periods and the major part of it is eliminated in the DPP; therefore, the DPP is also exploited as additional navigation measurement to weaken the impact of systematic biases on navigation accuracy. Results of photon-level simulations show that the navigation accuracy of the proposed method is remarkably better than that of the method only using PP, the method using both PP and DF and the method using both PP and DPP for Earth orbit.
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