On-orbit thruster calibration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Significant errors in force and moment output as well as large control coupling forces can result if the attitude and translation control thrusters of a spacecraft are not calibrated properly. Thruster calibration is also important for estimating fuel usage so that spacecraft life can be accurately predicted. A general procedure to accurately determine the true relationship between the commanded and the actual force output of a set of thrusters is presented. This relationship is determined from data generated by a spacecraft while it is in orbit. The calibration is based on the Kaiman filter estimator and is verified by a digital computer simulation of the Gravity Probe B spacecraft dynamics. Gravity Probe-B is an Earth orbiting gravitational physics experiment, which will test several aspects of Einstein's general relativity theory. A set of 18 proportional thrusters generate attitude control moments around three axes and translation control forces along three axes for full six-degree-of-freedom control. A total of 108 parameters are needed to characterize both the force and moment outputs of all 18 thrusters. The ability to calibrate these parameters to an accuracy of better than 1% rms is demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)934-940
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Volume19
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics

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