Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Dr. Jordi Puig-Suari


Attitude determination and estimation algorithms are developed and implemented in simulation for the Exocube satellite currently under development by PolySat at Cal Poly. A mission requirement of ±5˚ of attitude knowledge has been flowed down from the NASA Goddard developed payload, and this requirement is to be met with a basic sensor suite and the appropriate algorithms. The algorithms selected in this work are TRIAD and an Extended Kalman Filter, both of which are placed in a simulation structure along with models for orbit propagation, spacecraft kinematics and dynamics, and sensor and reference vector models. Errors inherent from sensors, orbit position knowledge, and reference vector generation are modeled as well. Simulations are then run for anticipated dynamic states of Exocube while varying parameters for the spacecraft, attitude algorithms, and level of error. The nominal case shows steady state convergence to within 1˚ of attitude knowledge, with sensor errors set to 3.5˚ and reference vector errors set to 2˚. The algorithms employed have their functionality confirmed with the use of STK, and the simulations have been structured to be used as tools to help evaluate attitude knowledge capabilities for the Exocube mission and future PolySat missions.