Skip to Main Content
This paper describes a novel low-cost inertial reference unit (IRU) developed for spin-stabilized sounding rockets, as well as a method to calibrate the IRU using a one-axis rate table. The IRU contains three orthogonally mounted microelectromechanical system (MEMS) gyros and is intended for use in a low-cost system for attitude determination of sounding rockets. The high spin velocity of the rockets (4-6 r/s) causes sensor misalignments and scale factor errors to have a large effect on the gyro outputs. The performance of the IRU is considerably improved by detailed calibration, including temperature compensation. For sounding rocket applications, the total rate error is typically reduced by more than one order of magnitude. The calibration procedure uses a ramp profile calibration maneuver input at all three sensor axes and a Kalman filter to estimate the 12 error parameters.