2008

Post-Flight Estimation of Motion of Space Structures: Part 2

A computer program related to the one described in the immediately preceding article estimates the relative position of two space structures that are hinged to each other. The input to the program consists of time-series data on distances, measured by two range finders at different positions on one structure, to a corner-cube retroreflector on the other structure. Given a Cartesian (x,y,z) coordinate system and the known x coordinate of the retroreflector relative to the y,z plane that contains the range finders, the program estimates the y and z coordinates of the retroreflector.

The estimation process involves solving for the y,z coordinates of the intersection between (1) the y,z plane that contains the retroreflector and (2) spheres, centered on the range finders, having radii equal to the measured distances. In general, there are two such solutions and the program chooses the one consistent with the design of the structures. The program implements a Kalman filter. The output of the program is a time series of estimates of the relative position of the structures.

This program was written by Paul Brugarolas and William Breckenridge of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Karina Edmonds of the California Institute of Technology at (626) 395-2322. Refer to NPO-45074.