P. Axelrad and B. W. Parkinson

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper addresses the problem of guiding the Gravity Probe B (GP-B) spacecraft from its location after initial insertion to a very precise low earth orbit. Specifically, the satellite orbit is required to be circular to within 0.001 eccentricity, polar to within 0.001 deg inclination, and aligned with the direction of the star Rigel to within 0.001 deg. Navigation data supplied by an on-board GPS receiver is used as feedback to a control algorithm designed to minimize the time to achieve the desired orbit. Translational control is provided by the proportional helium thrusters, which are used for drag-free and attitude control during the remainder of the science mission. Simulations of the guidance system are presented which give an indication of performance characteristics for several types of orbit injection errors. This research is the first reported effort to use GPS as a sensor for a closed loop space guidance system.
Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 36, Number 1
Pages: 45 - 62
Cite this article: Axelrad, P., Parkinson, B. W., "CLOSED LOOP NAVIGATION AND GUIDANCE FOR GRAVITY PROBE B ORBIT INSERTION", NAVIGATION: Journal of The Institute of Navigation, Vol. 36, No. 1, Spring 1989, pp. 45-62.
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