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Revolutionizing telemetry with multi-location ground stations centrally controlled

Business

Bringing solutions to the challenges inherent to flight test
Safran Data Systems has developed a centrally controlled multiple antennas systems which overcomes the limitations of single-receiving antennas when extending a data reception area.

Employee in front of a Sparte 300 antenna with a L/S/C tri-band feed
Satellite tracking antennas / Ground solutions for space

The use of a single receiving antenna poses several challenges to flight test. The antenna needs to be located on a high spot for maximum visibility of the test article. Moreover, flights at lower altitudes and uneven terrains limit the achievable visibility (line-of-sight) between the test article and the receiving antenna.

During the tests, articles might be maneuvered in such a way that the transmitting antenna is not in direct view of the receiving site. Some techniques exist to address this limitation by using multiple transmitting antennas on the test article, but they have limitations. 

TM Maestro - Safran Data Systems

Safran’s TM Maestro uses multiple receiving antennas to extend the usable area for flight tests, optimizing data reception even when the aircraft is positioned behind obstacles. The main station can be located anywhere, with remote stations connected to it, facilitating efficient coordination between several ground stations.

For optimum management of telemetry streams from multiple sources, Safran Data Systems takes advantage of the DQE/DQM specification introduced by IRIG-106. Having implemented this specification enables the Best Source Selector (BSS) to access reception quality information from each receiver and select the best data stream. The BSS also aligns incoming streams over time to switch seamlessly between them.

Automation of the management and control of multiple antennas becomes mandatory, and Safran offers a fully integrated solution so a single operator can monitor and control all his antennas from a centralized location. This solution, communicating via Ethernet, also simplifies the management of other system equipment.

“We work to anticipate customers’ needs and meet their latest requirements. TM Maestro empowers people to focus on what is important for them and control every asset of their test range remotely. Once again, we have met the new challenges by offering availability, scalability and agility,”
Noël Ballot, Safran Data Systems vice president of sales and marketing
TM Maestro user - Safran Data Systems

Accurate position acquisition from multiple sources remains crucial to track the test article. Safran Data Systems has developed an alternative way using the ADS-B system used by any commercial aircraft for air traffic control, in which the aircraft continuously sends its actual position. Telemetry stations can therefore easily ensure tracking, and reception of the telemetry streams, over the greatest possible distance.

Safran Data Systems’ approach to improve telemetry quality and efficiency through centrally controlled multiple-receiving antennas and management systems underscores its commitment to provide the most advanced scalable solutions.