Title: Application of X-Ray Pulsar Navigation: A Characterization of the Earth Orbit Trade Space
Author(s): Wayne H. Yu
Published in: Proceedings of the 29th International Technical Meeting of The Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2016)
September 12 - 16, 2016
Oregon Convention Center
Portland, Oregon
Pages: 845 - 856
Cite this article: Yu, Wayne H., "Application of X-Ray Pulsar Navigation: A Characterization of the Earth Orbit Trade Space," Proceedings of the 29th International Technical Meeting of The Satellite Division of the Institute of Navigation (ION GNSS+ 2016), Portland, Oregon, September 2016, pp. 845-856.
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Abstract: X-ray pulsar navigation (XNAV) is a celestial navigation system that uses the consistent timing nature of X-ray photons from milli-second pulsars (MSP) to perform space navigation. The challenge of XNAV comes from the faint signal, availability, and distant nature of pulsars. This paper is a study of extended Kalman filter (EKF) tracking performance within a wide trade space of bounded Earth orbits using only XNAV measurements. The study uses a simulation of existing X-ray detector space hardware. An example of an X-ray detector for XNAV is the NASA Station Explorer for X-ray Timing and Navigation (SEXTANT) mission, a technology demonstration of XNAV set to perform on the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017. This study in particular defines the Earth orbits as Keplernian elements and varies each element individually to observe XNAV performance. It shows that the closed Earth orbit for XNAV performance relies on the orbit semi-major axis and eccentricity as well as orbit inclination. These parameters drive pulsar measurement availability and quality by influencing the natural spacecraft orbit dynamics. The orbit angles of argument of perigee and right ascension of the ascending node help define the orbit and its initial XNAV measurements.