A Visual-Inertial attitude propagation for resource constrained small satellites

  • Amartuvshin Dagvasumberel Kyushu Institute of Technology
  • Kenichi Asami Kyushu Institute of Technology
Keywords: attitude estimation, small satellites, nonlinear filtering, vision-based


An accurate and efficient attitude determination system is a key component for Earth-observation small satellites. However, most of the small satellites operate without redundant attitude sensors due to the satellite’s small form factor and are therefore at a significant risk of mission failure. In this research, we propose a visual-inertial attitude propagation approach for Earth-observation small satellites. The proposed approach integrates vision-based and inertial attitude estimation methods in an unscented Kalman filter (UKF) framework. The vision-based method propagates attitude in three degrees of freedom from sequentially captured images based on Earth-observation geometrical constraints and total shift correction method. For validation of the vision-based method’s performance, we used raw imagery data of High Definition Earth Viewing (HDEV) payload of the International Space Station (ISS). The performance of the visual-inertial approach is assessed through the realistic Earth-surface scene simulations and results are compared with ground truth data.

How to Cite
A. Dagvasumberel and K. Asami, “A Visual-Inertial attitude propagation for resource constrained small satellites”, JAST, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 65-74, Jan. 2019.