Convex solution to a joint attitude and spin-rate estimation problem

James Saunderson, Pablo A. Parrilo, Alan S. Willsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This paper considers the problem of jointly estimating the attitude and spin rate of a spinning spacecraft. Psiaki has formulated a family of optimization problems that generalize the classical least-squares attitude-estimation problem, known as Wahba's problem, to the case of a spinning spacecraft. In the special case where the rotation axis and the fundamental sampling period are fixed and known, but the spin rate is unknown (such as for nutation-damped spin-stabilized spacecraft), Psiaki's problem can be reformulated exactly as a type of tractable convex optimization problem called a semidefinite optimization problem. This reformulation allows the problem to be globally solved using standard numerical routines for semidefinite optimization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)118-127
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Guidance Control and Dynamics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2016
Externally publishedYes

Cite this