Attitude determination of planetary exploration rovers using solar panels characteristics and accelerometer

Takayuki Ishida, Masaki Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we propose a new attitude determination system, which we call Irradiance-based Attitude Determination (IRAD). IRAD employs the characteristics and geometry of solar panels. First, the sun vector is estimated using data from solar panels including current, voltage, temperature, and the normal vectors of each solar panel. Because these values are obtained using internal sensors, it is easy for rovers to provide redundancy for IRAD. The normal vectors are used to apply to various shapes of rovers. Second, using the gravity vector obtained from an accelerometer, the attitude of a rover is estimated using a three-axis attitude determination method. The effectiveness of IRAD is verified through numerical simulations and experiments that show IRAD can estimate all the attitude angles (roll, pitch, and yaw) within a few degrees of accuracy, which is adequate for planetary explorations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-354
Number of pages11
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec



  • Attitude determination
  • Navigation
  • Planetary rover
  • Solar panel
  • q method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering

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