Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Astronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Nathan A. Titus, PhD


New regulations governing satellites in geostationary orbit require satellites to transfer into a parking orbit as part of the decommissioning process. These regulations increase the demand for accurate fuel estimation techniques for satellites. This study estimates the change in fuel mass from the dynamic response of the Air Force Institute of Technology's simulated satellite (SimSAT) to known control inputs. With an iterative process, the moment of inertia of SimSAT about the yaw axis was estimated by matching a model of SimSAT to the measured angular rates. A change in fuel mass was then estimated from the known relation between the change in moment of inertia to the change in fuel mass. Fuel masses of 1, 2, and 3 kilograms were estimated. The fuel estimation process developed in this study was able to estimate the fuel as 1.5664 ? 3.7157 kg, 2.8880 ? 3.8875 kg, and 3.9114 ? 3.4648 kg respectively. While the theory behind the estimation process is sound, the implementation still requires work.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number