Adept – Innovative Software
Novel Flight Tracking System proposal
A recent application was made to the UK Space Agency for funding for a new type of flight tracking system. The project aims to demonstrate the key elements of an innovative Autonomous Flight Termination System (AFTS) featuring a novel combination of GNSS and airborne tracking from unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
Historically, flight termination has been undertaken by a range safety officer (RSO) using ground-based systems at the launch site and across the range. The project will develop the key components for an innovative AFTS for use at any of the UK spaceports.
The proposed solution has observer UAVs flying equipped with Time Difference Of Arrival (TDOA) range finders. By calculating the range to the launch vehicle from each of the relay UAVs, the position vector of the launch vehicle may be determined by triangulation.
Compared to conventional radar-based FTS, the TDOA ranging system is less costly for the launch sites and removes the need for expensive tracking stations and ships.
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