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A real-time estimator is developed for the control of the Tether Dynamics Explorer (TDE) system. TDE is being used in a series of tethered satellite flight experiments whose purpose is to validate existing system models and test proposed control laws. Each experiment consists of an orbiting Delta II second stage which deploys toward the Earth a small box-shaped passive endbody at the end of a flexible tether. A discrete extended Kalman filter (DEKF) is presented which can operate in real time and in conjunction with control laws. This filter estimates the in-plane and out-of-plane tether libration angles and their rates from a proposed three-axis tether tension measurement device in the Delta second stage. The simulation results indicate that the DEKF can estimate the libration angle and their rates from a three-axis tension and length measurement with an acceptable error. The relatively simple computations required make this algorithm particularly well suited for real-time operation.