Date of Award

Fall 2011

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win Thein


This thesis presents several methods for the on-board and/or ground-based calibration of accelerometers for the spacecraft (s/c) of the NASA Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) Mission during mission operation. A lumped bias is estimated to correct for the total effect of the MMS accelerometer sensor bias, orthogonal misalignment and the shift in the s/c's center of mass.

Various estimation techniques are evaluated and compared, including both dynamically driven real-time filters/observers and post processing batch algorithms. Both methods are shown to accurately determine lumped bias, so long as the s/c inertia tensor is well known. If, however, there is any uncertainty in the inertia tensor, only post processing methods yield accurate lumped bias estimates. Analytical simulations show that these methods are able to correct accelerometer readings to within 1 micro-g of true acceleration. Preliminary experimental verification also shows proof of concept.