Robust Kalman filtering for small satellite attitude estimation in the presence of measurement faults

Halil Ersin Soken*, Chingiz Hajiyev, Shin Ichiro Sakai

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

76 Citations (Scopus)


In normal working conditions it is possible to achieve sufficient attitude estimation accuracy for a satellite using regular Kalman filter algorithm. On the other hand, when there is a fault in the measurements, the Kalman filter fails in providing the required accuracy and may even collapse over time. In this paper, a Robust Kalman filtering method is proposed for the attitude estimation problem. By using the proposed method both the Extended Kalman Filter and Unscented Kalman Filter are modified and the new algorithms, which are robust against measurement malfunctions, are called Robust Extended Kalman Filter and Robust Unscented Kalman Filter, respectively. A multiple scale factor based adaptation scheme is preferred for adapting the filters so only the data of the faulty sensor is scaled and any unnecessary information loss is prevented. The proposed algorithms are demonstrated for attitude estimation of a small satellite and performances of these two robust Kalman filters are compared in case of different measurement faults. The application of the algorithm is discussed for small satellite missions where the attitude accuracy depends on a limited number of measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-72
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Control
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2014


This work was supported in part by Japanese Government with MONBUKAGAKUSHO scholarship and also by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) with a research grant.

FundersFunder number
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency


    • Attitude estimation
    • Measurement fault
    • REKF
    • Robust Kalman filtering
    • RUKF
    • Small satellite


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