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(to be completed)

 


ThinkMind // International Journal On Advances in Networks and Services, volume 4, numbers 1 and 2, 2011 // View article netser_v4_n12_2011_8


Phased Array Satellite Antenna Testing by an Aircraft Borne Emulation Platform

Authors:
Iwan Kruger
Riaan Wolhuter

Keywords: Satellite Emulator; Phase Array Antenna; Beam Steering; Orbital Calculations; Link Budgets;

Abstract:
The KU Leuven- and Stellenbosch Universities are jointly developing an electronically beam steerable phased antenna array for satellite applications, including all the peripheral ground- and space segment subsystems. This paper covers the development of an Aircraft based Satellite Emulator to facilitate convenient aircraft based testing of an antenna array, intended for Low Earth Orbit satellite deployment. A flight strategy is developed to emulate such a satellite as best possible, with the strategy subsequently implemented in software on in-flight PC hardware. The emulator acts as a full interface between the aircraft avionics and satellite bus system, to enable generation of the required antenna steering commands and to create a satellite bus image to the payload. The emulator provides in-flight systems information to the satellite payload, as it would get from an actual satellite bus during spaceflight. The emulator ensures indifference to the payload, regardless of the fact that testing is aircraft based. An embedded control algorithm for the steerable antenna has also been developed and resides in the onboard computer of the payload. Excellent initial test results have been obtained from the aircraft flight simulator and actual flight telemetry data, proving the viability and cost-effectiveness of the approach. The system tests as reported on here, stopped just short of full equipment flight testing, as scheduled for in the near future. This is awaited with keen interest, as all results up to the present have been positive and in line with expectations.

Pages: 92 to 106

Copyright: Copyright (c) to authors, 2011. Used with permission.

Publication date: September 15, 2011

Published in: journal

ISSN: 1942-2644

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