Novel celestial navigation for satellite using x-ray pulsars

Li Qiao*, Jianye Liu, Guanglou Zheng, Liang He, Zhi Xiong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The X-ray pulsar-based navigation is a novel technology for the satellite autonomous navigation. The position and the velocity of the satellite are determined by using the pulse phases detected at the satellite and predicted by the pulse timing models. With the detected pulse phase, the satellite position with respect to the Earth center can be calculated along the line-of-sight to the pulsar. Using three pulsars, the satellite position in the inertial frame can be resolved. The extended Kalman filter (EKF) algorithm is designed to incorporate the range measurements with the satellite dynamics. Simulation verification shows that the proposed algorithm can accurately determine the satellite orbit, with the position error less than 100 m. Furthermore, the factors influencing the navigation performance are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-105
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2008


  • Kalman filtering
  • Navigation
  • X-ray pulsar


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