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In the 1960s, the Kalman filter was applied to navigation for the Apollo Project, which required estimates of the trajectories of manned spacecraft going to the Moon and back. With the lives of the astronauts at stake, it was essential that the Kalman filter be proven effective and reliable before it could be used. This article is about the lead up to Kalman's work, key discoveries in the development and maturation of the filter, a sampling of its many applications in aerospace, and recognition of some who played key roles in that history.
Date of Publication: June 2010