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The accuracy in an X-ray pulsar-based navigation system depends mainly on the accuracy of the pulse phase estimation. In this paper, a novel method is proposed which combines an epoch folding process and a cross-correlation method with the idea of “averaging multiple measurements”. In this method, pulse phase is estimated multiple times on the sampled subsets of arriving photons' time tags, and a final estimation is obtained as the weighted average of these estimations. Two explanations as to how the proposed method can improve accuracy are provided: a Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR)-based explanation and an “error-difference trade-off” explanation. Numerical simulations show that the accuracy in pulse phase estimation can be improved with the proposed algorithm.
X-ray pulsar navigation is a promising technology for autonomous spacecraft navigation. The key measurement of pulsar navigation is the time delay (phase delay). There are various methods to estimate phase delay, but most of them have high computational complexities. In this paper, a new method for phase delay estimation is proposed, which is based on the time-shift property of Discrete Fourier Transformation (DFT). With this method, the time complexity can be greatly reduced. Also, a delta-function approximation can be used to further decrease the computational cost. Numerical simulation shows that the proposed method is effective for phase delay estimation, and the reduced complexity makes our method more suitable for on board implementation.
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