A deterministic attitude estimator for a rigid body under an attitude dependent potential is studied using small error assumptions. This estimator requires only a single direction measurement to a known reference point at each measurement instant. The measurement cannot completely determine the attitude, but an attitude estimation scheme based on this measurement is developed; a feasible set compatible with the measurement is described and it is combined with an attitude dynamics model to obtain an attitude estimate. The attitude is globally represented by a rotation matrix, and the uncertainties are described by ellipsoidal sets. A numerical example for a spacecraft in a circular orbit is presented.