Date of Award

Winter 2014

Project Type


Program or Major

Mechanical Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science

First Advisor

May-Win L Thein

Second Advisor

Barry Fussell

Third Advisor

Michael J Carter


The Celestial Navigation (CelNav) method was developed in conjunction with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, to provide accurate location data for extraterrestrial surface navigation without the use of a global positioning system (GPS) or a ground/relay station. CelNav is a minimal sensor/power solution originally developed for static Lunar surface navigation. However, dynamic navigation via CelNav requires high-accuracy state estimates, due to the absence of key sensors such as a gyroscope, GPS, and a magnetometer. In this thesis, robust nonlinear state estimation techniques (the Sliding Mode Observer, the Extended Kalman Filter, and the H-Infinity Filter) are used with CelNav to accurately determine dynamic latitude, longitude, and heading, for an unmanned/manned rover or astronaut. The goal is to investigate the feasibility of implementing a nonlinear estimation technique with CelNav for dynamic extraterrestrial surface navigation when accurate location coordinates are necessary. Preliminary results show that this research shows promise as a secondary dynamic navigation system for future extraterrestrial exploration.