Attitude determination for balloon-borne experiments
An attitude determination system for balloon-borne experiments is presented. The system provides pointing information in azimuth and elevation for instruments flying on stratospheric balloons over Antarctica. In-flight attitude is given by the real-time combination of readings from star cameras, a magnetometer, sun sensors, GPS, gyroscopes, tilt sensors and an elevation encoder. Post-flight attitude reconstruction is determined from star camera solutions, interpolated by the gyroscopes using an extended Kalman Filter. The multi-sensor system was employed by the Balloon-borne Large Aperture Submillimeter Telescope for Polarimetry (BLASTPol), an experiment that measures polarized thermal emission from interstellar dust clouds. A similar system was designed for the upcoming flight of Spider, a Cosmic Microwave Background polarization experiment. The pointing requirements for these experiments are discussed, as well as the challenges in designing attitude reconstruction systems for high altitude balloon flights. In the 2010 and 2012 BLASTPol flights from McMurdo Station, Antarctica, the system demonstrated an accuracy of < 5' rms in-flight, and < 5" rms post-flight.
Additional Information© 2014 Society of Photo-optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). The BLAST collaboration acknowledges the support of NASA through grant numbers NNX13AE50G S03 and NNX09AB98G and the Leverhulme Trust through the Research Project Grant F/00 407/BN. The Spider collaboration acknowledges the support of NASA through grant numbers NNX07AL64G and NNX12AE95G. We acknowledge the support of the Lucille and David Packard Foundation, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), the Canadian Space Agency (CSA), the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Innovation Trust, the Fondo Institucional para la Investigacion of the University of Puerto Rico, the Rhode Island Space Grant Consortium, and the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs. We thank the JPL Research and Technology Development Fund for advancing detector focal plane technology. W. C. Jones acknowledges the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. A. S. Rahlin is partially supported through NASAs NESSF Program (12-ASTRO12R-004). J. D. Soler acknowledges the support of the European Research Council under the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme FP7/2007-2013/ERC grant agreement number 267934. F. Poidevin thanks the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO) under the Consolider-Ingenio project CSD2010-00064 (EPI: Exploring the Physics of Inflation) for its support. Logistical support for this project in Antarctica is provided by the U.S. National Science Foundation through the U.S. Antarctic Program. We would also like to thank the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility (CSBF) staff for their continued outstanding work.
Published - 91452U.pdf