Flying Boresight Source for Improved Testing and Calibration of Tracking Antennas and Advanced Flight Path Simulations
AffiliationDLR Mobile Rocket Base
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AbstractThe application of ground-based boresight sources for calibration and testing of tracking antennas usually entails various difficulties, mostly due to unwanted ground effects. To avoid this problem, DLR MORABA developed a small, lightweight, frequency-adjustable S-band boresight source, mounted on a small remote-controlled multirotor aircraft. Highly accurate GPS-supported, position and altitude control functions allow both, very steady positioning of the aircraft in mid-air, and precise waypoint-based, semi-autonomous flights. In contrast to fixed near-ground boresight sources this flying setup enables us to avoid obstructions in the Fresnel zone between source and antenna. Further, it minimizes ground reflections or other multipath effects which can affect antenna calibrations. In addition, the large operating range of a flying boresight simplifies measurements in the far field of the antenna and permits undisturbed antenna pattern tests. A unique application is the realistic simulation of sophisticated flight paths, including overhead tracking and unusual trajectories of fast objects such as sounding rockets. Likewise, dynamic tracking tests are feasible which provide crucial information about the antenna pedestal performance, particularly at high elevations, and reveal weaknesses in the autotrack control loop.
SponsorsInternational Foundation for Telemetering