Hardware in-the-loop demonstration of real-time orbit determination in high earth orbits

Michael Moreau, Bo Naasz, Jesse Leitner, J. Russell Carpenter, Dave Gaylor

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

3 Scopus citations


This paper presents results from a study conducted at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) to assess the real-time orbit determination accuracy of GPS-based navigation in a number of different high Earth orbital regimes. Measurements collected from a GPS receiver (connected to a GPS radio frequency (RF) signal simulator) were processed in a navigation filter in real-time, and resulting errors in the estimated states were assessed. For the most challenging orbit simulated, a 12 hour Molniya orbit with an apogee of approximately 39,000 km, mean total position and velocity errors were approximately 7 meters and 3 mm/s respectively. The study also makes direct comparisons between the results from the above hardware in-the-loop tests and results obtained by processing GPS measurements generated from software simulations. Care was taken to use the same models and assumptions in the generation of both the real-time and software simulated measurements, in order that the real-time data could be used to help validate the assumptions and models used in the software simulations. The study makes use of the unique capabilities of the Formation Flying Test Bed at GSFC, which provides a capability to interface with different GPS receivers and to produce real-time, filtered orbit solutions even when less than four satellites are visible. The result is a powerful tool for assessing onboard navigation performance in a wide range of orbital regimes, and a test-bed for developing software and procedures for use in real spacecraft applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes
EventInstitute of Navigation, 2005 National Technical Meeting, NTM 2005 - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 24 2005Jan 26 2005


OtherInstitute of Navigation, 2005 National Technical Meeting, NTM 2005
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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