Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Jordi Puig-Suari


An extended Kalman filter is modified to support only magnetometer data as a measurement for spacecraft attitude information. Actual on-orbit data from a student satellite is used in the filter from three different time periods and varying data frequencies. The extended Kalman filter has a thermal model that utilizes external temperature data as a verification tool for filter convergence and for parameter tuning. It can capture the frequency of temperature changes and the correct side panel being lit by the sun as long as the filter converges properly, but not the magnitude of the temperature at a specific time. A solar panel power model is also attempted, which was found to be unusable due to power budget issues and the side panel current sensors railing. Convergence of the three sets of data showed that a 30 second snapshot rate converges to a more accurate attitude information when the satellite has a 0.1 rev/min rotation rate compared to the 1.0 rev/min rotation rate data. A 10 second snapshot rate gives more accurate attitude information for data from a satellite with a 1.0 rev/min rotation rate. By investigating the drastic reduction in the satellite’s rotation rate over 6 months, it was discovered that the satellite’s antenna is most likely magnetized, causing it to try to align itself with the Earth’s magnetic field, slowing down the rotation rate of the satellite from 1 rev/min to 0.1 rev/min.