ABOUT THE COLLECTION

The International Telemetering Conference/USA (ITC/USA) is dedicated to the promotion and stimulation of technical growth in telemetering and its allied arts and sciences. It is the premier annual forum and technical exhibition providing telemetry specific short courses, technical papers from professionals and students, and exhibits of the industry’s leading companies. ITC/USA is sponsored by the International Foundation for Telemetering (IFT), a non-profit corporation dedicated to serving the technical and professional interests of the telemetering community.

This collection contains the proceedings of the nineteenth International Telemetering Conference, October 24-27, 1983. The conference, sponsored by the International Foundation for Telemetering, was held at the Sheraton-Harbor Island Hotel and Convention Center in San Diego, California.

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Recent Submissions

  • Telemetering Standards Coordination Committee

    Jennings, Vernon (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
  • STANDARD FORMAT DATA UNITS: TOOLS FOR AUTOMATIC EXCHANGE OF SPACE MISSION DATA

    Willett, James B.; Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) California Institiute of Technology (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    Two of the tools necessary for automated exchange of space mission data sets are, (1) a set of standard formatting rules for the data sets, and (2) a standard computer-readable language with which to describe the data. These two tools are used to create the Standard Format Data Unit (SFDU). The NASA/JPL proposal for creation and utilization of SFDUs is presented, and its relationship to recent recommendations from the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) is discussed. Several current and planned implementations of the SFDU concept among major space flight projects will be identified.
  • THE NASA DATA SYSTEMS STANDARDIZATION PROGRAM RADIO FREQUENCY AND MODULATION

    Martin, Warren L.; CALIFORNIA INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY JET PROPULSION LABORATORY (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    As space missions have become more expensive, the search for methods to improve efficiency has intensified. One approach offering great potential focuses upon multimission designs in order to avoid early obsolescence. Data handling systems are attractive candidates for the multimission concept because of the high cost of redesign and because the process should be amenable to a high degree of uniformity. By cooperating in the specification of their data systems, NASA and ESA should achieve significant uniformity. Apart from improving the design, this unified approach will facilitate the cross support of one agency’s spacecraft by the other agency’s tracking network. Here, we are concerned with the radio frequency subsystem which links spacecraft instruments with ground-based users. In large measure, the telecommunications system’s characteristics are determined by the ground station’s design. For the concept of cross support to succeed, there must be a substantial similarity between these NASA and ESA designs. Both NASA and ESA have large capital investments in their ground networks. While it might be theoretically satisfying to speak of a single ground system configuration for both agencies, the high cost of the required revisions renders this approach practically unachievable. This paper describes a process for maximizing the commonality of the two agencies’ radio frequency and modulation systems that is consistent with budgetary and scheduling constraints. The two-part program consists of identifying present system similarities and developing a plan for eliminating substantive differences where they are found to exist.
  • THE NEW STANDARD SPACECRAFT TIMECODE

    Connell, Edward B.; Goddard Space Flight Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    In an effort to reduce the costs of conducting space missions, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is working to develop data systems standards that are appropriate for application at key interfaces within mission data systems. Use of proper standards can improve multimission support by reducing the need for developing new interfaces and data transforms for each new mission. “Time” is an important parameter for space-acquired measurements because instrument analysis can often be based on a sampled sensor time series and because time provides the most efficient (and often the only possible) linkage between instrument data and externally generated ancillary parameters. Therefore, one of the major aims of the NASA effort has been focused on the development of a standard timecode structure. This paper describes the rationale and form for that structure and provides a proposed definition for an important class of timecodes, the binary unsegmented codes. The structure provides a mechanism for the self-documentation of timecodes, so that any user of the data can interpret time measurements in an unambiguous manner. The binary unsegmented codes are modular and easily machine-readable, and feature expandable resolution and ambiguity periods.
  • STANDARD METHODS FOR TELEMETRY AND TELECOMMAND CHANNEL CODING

    MacMedan, M. L.; California Institute of Technology (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    Channel coding is a well-established method for improving the performance of a channel, or link, between space and earth. Until recently, the types of codes and their parameters were frequently tailored to optimize the performance of the data through a channel for a specific application. Furthermore, lack of coordination led to a situation where different developing bodies pursued slightly different schemes with essentially the same peformance. This resulted in a proliferation of coding schemes which inhibits interoperability (among centers as well as agencies) and cross support. Work has been done by two recently-established standards coordinating bodies, the NASA-ESA Working Group for Space Data Systems Standardization (NEWG) and the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS), to standardize on a few highperformance codes for general applicability. These codes, which are described in the NEWG Telemetry Channel Coding Guideline (Reference 1), can provide up to 6.8 dB of coding gain. They may not be perfectly optimized for every mission, but they can, in most cases, provide satisfactory performance at low cost through amortization of development costs. This leads to affordable inter-center and inter-agency cross support, and cooperative missions. Error protection is similarly needed for telecommanding, and work has been under way in the CCSDS to establish a Telecommand Channel Coding Recommendation. Status of this work, and methods of synchronization and telecommand frame error protection, are discussed. This paper may also be of interest to other non-NASA space communication channel users.
  • PACKET TELEMETRY AND PACKET TELECOMMAND: THE NEW GENERATION OF SPACECRAFT DATA HANDLING TECHNIQUES

    Hooke, Adrian J.; California Institute of Technology (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    During twenty-five years of space exploration by NASA, the formats and protocols used within the flow of spacecraft telemetry and telecommand data have usually been customized from mission-to-mission. Consequently, considerable resources are often expended by each project in redesigning and testing significant elements of the spacecraft and ground network hardware and software. This high degree of customization tends to inhibit automation of the data handling processes, thus raising costs and potentially reducing reliability. The concepts of standardized “Packet Telemetry” and “Packet Telecommand” are emerging as viable alternatives to the constant cycle of redesign. Within each concept, autonomous “packets” of data are created within space or ground application processes, using standard formatting techniques. These packets are then switched end-to-end through the space data network to their destination application processes, using standard transfer protocols. As a result the intermediate data networks may be designed to be completely mission-independent, thus facilitating a high degree of automation and interoperability. The Packet Telemetry protocols are currently mature and are in a final review cycle; the Packet Telecommand protocols are more developmental, but essentially form symmetrical “mirror-images” of the telemetry formats. This paper reviews both sets of standard protocols.
  • THE NASA DATA SYSTEMS STANDARDIZATION PROGRAM RATIONALE AND SCOPE

    Smylie, Robert E.; Stephens, Robert R.; National Aeronautics and Space Administration (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    An unprecedented challenge to NASA’s data systems is presented by the operational Space Transportation System and the attendant planned permanent facilities in space. Large, extremely high data rate experiments are now possible. More importantly, re-visit capabilities permit in-orbit payload change-out, precluding conventional ground testing of the total system. End-to-end data system engineering and flexible architectural design are mandatory if this challenge is to be met economically and effectively. A simple, top-level logical reference model of the end-to-end data system is being developed, which identifies the numerous functions and services which every automated space data system must provide. Each function or service may be mapped into specific physical subsystems, so that interface relationships are evident and “standard” protocols may be identified for development. By virture of this interface standardization, subsystems can be designed not only independently and in parallel, but with confidence that when the subsystems are aggregated the end-to-end system will operate efficiently and at low cost. A second purpose of the model is to identify technical opportunities for interoperability between the space data networks owned by different agencies or countries, thereby promoting cooperative international cross support of space missions. Fully-automated virtual connection between an investigator and a sensor in space is postulated, with the intervening system being fully transparent regardless of the physical configuration or ownership of that system. To date this standardization effort has been principally directed toward a problem unique to space missions, namely the space to ground link. Mature “Guidelines” have been prepared for the formatting and coding of telemetry data, and these guidelines are being coordinated with approximately 12 other countries who have significant space activity. Other developmental Guidelines include telecommand formats and protocols, timetags, radio frequency/modulation techniques, and globally interpretable methods for the exchange of many different types of message data. A formal work-flow has been established whereby these Guidelines progress from concept papers to initial drafts (“White Books”) , then through iterative review cycles where they exist as Drafts (“Red Books”) and finally as completed Guidelines (“Blue Books”). This paper will review the overall program of data system standardization currently underway within NASA.
  • USING THE STD BUS FOR ENCODER/DECODER SYSTEMS ABOARD A HIGH-ALTITUDE BALLOON PLATFORM

    Willis, Jim; Stabilized High Altitude Research Platform Physical Science Laboratory New Mexico State University Las Cruces (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    The Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) is developing a balloon-launched platform that will support a wide range of high-altitude projects. The Stabilized High Altitude Research Platform (SHARP) will house several on-board microprocessor-based subsystems to provide telemetry, command, and navigation data. Support for a wide variety of scientific experiments requires versatile electronic subsystems aboard the platform. Using the STD bus as a building block component, the Laboratory has designed and fabricated such subsystems. The STD bus, a standard interface throughout the computer industry, was chosen for the design because of its availability, ruggedness, versatility, and wide selection of compatible, off-the-shelf components.
  • REALIZING HIGH-RATE SYSTEMS: A TECHNOLOGY STUDY REDUCED TO PRACTICE for LANDSAT-D

    Grebe, David; AYDIN MONITOR Systems (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    Generalized use of ECL in telemetry systems requires the reduction of transmission line theory, power distribution, topology considerations, and device characteristics to an implementation that is reproducible, permits rapid changes, and is cost effective. Bringing high data rates (up to 150 Mb/s) to everyday status was one goal in the development of a LANDSAT-D format synchronizer. The unit had to perform preamble and minor frame synchronization followed by decoding, decommutation, and formatting at the Thermatic Mapper real-time rate of 85 Mb/s. To additionally handle MSS and standard telemetry, as well as stream simulation and bit error rate measurements, a generalized solution was required. This is in opposition to a specially designed unit to fulfill only LANDSAT mission requirements. To produce the unit best suited to telemetry disciplines where formats change rapidly, the unit was implemented using wire wrapped modules with the stated goals realized.
  • A TARGET ACQUISITION SYSTEM FOR TELEMETRY TRACKING SYSTEMS

    Stephenson, Henry B., Jr.; White Sands Missile Range (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) personnel have developed an intelligent, low cost, dual-microprocessor based, Tracking System Interface to be implemented on each telemetry tracking system at WSMR. This interface provides each telemetry tracking system with the capability of acquiring targets based on pointing data from various tracking radars on the Range. The presentation will begin with a historical overview of the WSMR target acquisition system followed by a discussion of the telemetry target acquisition system in particular. The newly developed intelligent interface will be discussed including present attributes. The presentation will conclude with a discussion of future enhancements.
  • THE GRUMMAN ADVANCED TELEMETRY PREPROCESSOR

    Sangl, Donald; Silberto, Joe; Grumman Data Systems Corporation (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    The Grumman Automated Telemetry System (ATS) was one of the first computer based real-time flight test systems. It delivered real-time answers enabling Grumman to cost effectively meet its aircraft test objectives since 1970. Since then, aircraft systems have become more sophisticated with higher data rate requirements and with more on-board processing. Analysts have become more involved with defining man/machine interfaces and more sophisticated in their demand for real-time test data processing system. This paper provides an insight into the analyses and design trade-offs made when the first major section (The Preprocessor Subsystem) of the ATS was to be replaced. It proceeds from the requirements definition, through acceptance test results of the Advanced Telemetry Preprocessor (ATP). Emphasis is placed on the ATP hardware configuration, the subsystem software and the design/build cycle. System test results and a look into the future regarding planned applications and possible performance upgrades are summarized. The ATP is the first step in a series of planned upgrades of the ATS which will enable it to meet the flight test user’s demand for increased volume, sophistication and user-friendly interaction.
  • DATA COMPRESSION -PROMISE AND PRACTICE

    Dixon, Robert C.; Hughes Aircraft Company Microelectronic Systems Division (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
  • Imageless Mixer for Data Translation

    Rieger, James L.; Woodworth, Paul H.; Naval Weapons Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    An imageless mixer is described for translation of a wideband data signal to an unoccupied portion of a telemetry link spectrum. The translation produced is identical to translations performed by existing double-sideband systems, but at a saving in hardware and with reduced adjustment. A computer program provided allows evaluation of various phaseshift filters for desired bandwidth and precision.
  • A SOLID-STATE C-BAND POWER AMPLIFIER FOR COMMUNICATIONS SATELLITES

    LaPrade, J. Nicholas; RCA Astro-Electronics (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    A solid-state power amplifier now routinely replaces the traveling-wave tube amplifier in C-band communications satellites. The immediate benefit of superior performance is realized by increased transponder capacity. Long-term benefits of higher reliability and reduced production costs are also projected. This paper describes salient features of the first solid-state power amplifier to fully replace the traveling-wave tube amplifier in spaceborne transponders. The 8.5-watt, 60-dB gain amplifier employs a chain of gallium-arsenide field-effect transistors to provide a 160-MHz usable bandwidth within the 3.7- to 4.2-GHz downlink band. Data typical for this amplifier are presented. The key parameters of efficiency, intermodulation distortion, and phase effects are described in detail. The amplifier is being manufactured for numerous communications satellite programs. Aspects of reproducibility and automated testing at the various stages of amplifier production are addressed. Forty-eight amplifiers are now operational at geosynchronous altitude with several times that number scheduled for launch within the next few years.
  • A PORTABLE JAMMING SYSTEM TO EVALUATE THE PERFORMANCE OF L BAND RADIO SYSTEMS IN AN EW ENVIRONMENT

    POSNER, RICHARD D.; O’LEARY, JAMES N.; 3dbm SYSTEMS, INC.; THE AEROSPACE COMPANY (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    This paper describes a system which has been developed to simulate a number of potential EW environments. The system consists of a net of portable jammers remotely controlled from a single command and control center. Each portable jammer can be adapted for ground or air utilization and each unit includes various types of noise sources, a power amplifier and an integral transmit antenna. The paper provides a detailed description of the jammer hardware. The antenna is a specially developed conical horn back helix. An 80 Watt nominal solid state power amplifier is described along with the control system which allows precisely controlling and monitoring the RF Output power level. Circuitry to develop noise modulation is explained as well as the AC/DC Power System which allows the jammer to be used with a variety of Power Sources. Control of the jammer via a centrally located RF transmitter addressing individual remote receivers is discussed. Overall system performance in terms of Noise Power Spectral Density, level variations and control of spectrum are described. Finally, a description is given of the use of the portable jammer system to emulate possible jamming environments which could be encountered in tactical GPS applications.
  • NEW DIGITAL-INPUT TRANSMITTER FOR MISSILE TELEMETRY

    Rieger, James L.; Woodworth, Paul H.; Naval Weapons Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    Telemetry for aircraft and missiles has been in use by the military and its suppliers since the 1950’s, using a variety of frequencies and formats. The relative availability and versatility of digital electronics obviates use of pulse-code modulation (PCM) schemes, rather than analog-based formats used more commonly in the past. The digital-input transmitter described accepts binary format directly from a TTL source and has applicability in both standard telemetry and encrypted systems.
  • DIGITIZING HIGH-SPEED ANALOG DATA USING COMPUTERS

    Saulsberry, Garen; New Mexico State University (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    The Physical Science Laboratory (PSL) has developed processes for digitizing high-speed analog data using state-of-the-art equipment and software techniques. The Laboratory has resolved the problems encountered by integrating off-the-shelf equipment, PSL-designed interface units, and system application software to meet the specific needs of individual data collection and reduction systems.
  • INTEGRATED REALTIME SOFTWARE FOR BOTH AIRBORNE FLIGHT TEST SYSTEMS AND PCM GROUND STATIONS

    Trover, W. F.; Associate Director of Advanced Systems (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    Flight test activities can be completed quicker if the test engineers can evaluate test data in realtime on-board the aircraft or at the PCM ground station. Teledyne Controls is developing a software package for several customers that provides realtime EU data in several formats. Data presented to the test engineer includes: stacked or overlayed scrolling EU curves, limit exceedance tests and alarm generation, tabular EU data presentations and operator requested hardcopy of CRT presentations supplemented by the classical raw data strip chart recordings. Incorporated into this software are facilities permitting semi-automatic calibration of sensors installed in the aircraft during preflight operations as well as generation of tape headers for automatic PCM tape reading by the ground station. Other features include semi-automatic processing of sensor calibration data gathered in the calibration laboratory for entry into the ground station’s data base, and a software/hardware link coupling the data reduction software in the PCM ground station to the generation, loading and test of the data cycle map in the airborne PCM system.
  • SYSTEM ENGINEERING USING “TOY” COMPUTERS

    Mitchell, Steven W.; Sheets, K. Yvonne; ARGOSystems, Inc. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    The current proliteration of microcomputers and software provides the system engineer and program manager a useful set of tools that can be adapted to support and enhance the program management effort. The functions that can be implemented effectively include scheduling, word processing, budgeting, limited data base applications, requirements tracing, document control, electronic mail/bulletin boards, and the tracking of contractual details. This paper describes strategies and architectures useful fo r implementing microcomputers into the program office environment. Also discussed is a software development methodology specifically tailored for the use at microcomputer applications software. * K. Yvonne Sheets is employed by Space Research, Inc., 440 Redondo Ave., Suite 202, Long Beach, Ca. 90814, and is under contract to ARGOSystams, Inc.
  • ADVANCED TT&C FOR THE AIR FORCE SATELLITE CONTROL FACILITY CONCEPTUAL OVERVIEW

    Carroll, James T.; The Aerospace Corporation (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1983-10)
    The Department of Defense will be moving their essential space resources into the EHF spectrum which, together with new signal structures, will counter the impacts of jamming, nuclear effects, and electronic intelligence intercept. The Air Force Satellite Control Facility (AFSCF) project for incorporating the new Satellite Data Link Standards (SDLS) into its existing antenna and communication network is described. Also, the signal structure concepts, system architecture, EHF user programs, interoperability factors, and finally, implementation plans. Taken together, these factors will implement a new SDLS Military Standard for space links.

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