Deterministic Heading-Independent Celestial Localization Measurement Model

Ilija Jovanovic and John Enright

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: Planetary rover navigation frequently relies on dead reckoning and external infrastructure such as orbiting satellites. Celestial navigation techniques combine measurements of the Sun, stars, and gravity to provide autonomous absolute localization. This study examines the performance of digital star sextants (DSS)—a suite of sensors combining a star tracker and an inclinometer—on estimating position on the planetary surface. In particular, we discuss the estimation, calibration, and error analysis for an elevation-only measurement formulation that does not rely on ground-truth heading information. Field tests and Monte Carlo simulations provide validation of the proposed techniques. The real-world performance of the experimental system gives a mean single-orientation error of 296 m. The relative agreement between the predicted and observed error reveals a clear roadmap to help evaluate the impact of prospective sensor improvements on DSS performance.
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Published in: NAVIGATION: Journal of the Institute of Navigation, Volume 69, Number 3
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