Satellite Launcher Navigation with One Versus Three IMUs – Sensor Positioning and Data Fusion Model Analysis


  1. Beaudoin, Y.
  2. Desbiens, A.
  3. Gagnon, E.
  4. Landry Jr, R.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Valcartier Research Centre, Quebec QC (CAN)
Using multiple IMUs allows both their distribution along vehicle structures and a reliance on integration methods, which is not possible with a single IMU. This paper addresses the issue of relying on three IMUs instead of only one of a higher quality in the context of a satellite launcher. The impact of the IMU positions was tested by comparing collocated IMUs against IMUs installed in the head of each launcher stage. For multi-IMU configurations, three integration methods were tested: all IMUs fused in a single INS, multiple INSs fused in a stacked filter, and multiple INSs fused in a stacked filter with geometrical constraints. All navigation solutions were aided by a three-axis attitude reference sensor and were tested with and without a GPS receiver. The results show that distributing IMUs along the launcher structure does not improve navigation performances compared to having them collocated. The fusion of multiple IMUs in one INS provides equivalent results as one IMU. However, fusing multiple INSs greatly reduces estimation errors. Performances are further improved with the addition of geometrical constraints. During long GPS outages, relative velocity and position constraints should not be exploited, as they may lead to filter divergence.
GPS (Global Positioning System);INS (Inertial Navigation System);Navigation;Attitude Reference Sensor;Data Fusion;Sensors Positioning
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-P093 — External Literature
Date of publication
01 Jul 2018
Number of Pages
Reprinted from
Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 18, no. 6 (2018)
Electronic Document(PDF)

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