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International Journal of Aerospace Engineering
Volume 2018, Article ID 5394057, 14 pages
Research Article

Attitude Determination Algorithms through Accelerometers, GNSS Sensors, and Gravity Vector Estimator

European Institute for Aviation Training and Accreditation (EIATA), Rey Juan Carlos University, 28943 Fuenlabrada, Spain

Correspondence should be addressed to Raúl de Celis; se.cjru@sileced.luar

Received 6 October 2017; Accepted 29 November 2017; Published 4 February 2018

Academic Editor: Linda L. Vahala

Copyright © 2018 Raúl de Celis and Luis Cadarso. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aircraft and spacecraft navigation precision is dependent on the measurement system for position and attitude determination. Rotation of an aircraft can be determined measuring two vectors in two different reference systems. Velocity vector can be determined in the inertial reference frame from a GNSS-based sensor and by integrating the acceleration measurements in the body reference frame. Estimating gravity vector in both reference frames, and combining with velocity vector, determines rotation of the body. A new approach for gravity vector estimations is presented and employed in an attitude determination algorithm. Nonlinear simulations demonstrate that using directly the positioning and velocity outputs of GNSS sensors and strap-down accelerometers, aircraft attitude determination is precise, especially in ballistic projectiles, to substitute precise attitude determination devices, usually expensive and forced to bear high solicitations as for instance G forces.