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To estimate the spreading sequence of the direct sequence spread spectrum (DSSS) signal, a fast algorithm based on maximum likelihood function is proposed, and the theoretical derivation of the algorithm is provided. By simplifying the objective function of maximum likelihood estimation, the algorithm can realize sequence synchronization and sequence estimation via adaptive iteration and sliding window. Since it avoids the correlation matrix computation, the algorithm significantly reduces the storage requirement and the computation complexity. Simulations show that it is a fast convergent algorithm, and can perform well in low signal to noise ratio (SNR).