• A GPS-Based Autonomous Onboard Destruct System

      Alves, Daniel F., Jr.; Keith, Edward L.; Alpha Instrumentation and Information Management; Microcosm Inc. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1995-11)
      This paper examines the issues involved in replacing the current Range safety infrastructure with an autonomous range safety system based on GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) integrated navigation system solutions. Range safety is required in the first place because current launch vehicle navigation systems cannot meet a level of trust needed to determine if the mission is really under control and on course. Existing launch vehicle navigation is generally based on attitude and acceleration sensing instrumentation that are subject to drift, initialization errors and failures. Thus, a launch vehicle can easily be under the control of a seemingly operating navigation system, yet be steering the launch vehicle along an incorrect and dangerous flight path. Inertial-based navigation systems are good, but they cannot be trusted. The function of Range safety is to assure that untrustworthy navigation is backed up with a trusted system that has positive knowledge of the launch vehicle location, and the intelligence to decide when and where a launch vehicle must be destroyed. Combining inertial navigation, GPS derived position information and knowledge-based computer control has the potential to provide trusted and autonomous Range safety functions. The issues of autonomous Range safety are addressed in this paper.