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 twenty-ninth International Telemetering Conference, October 25-28, 1993. The conference, sponsored by the International Foundation for Telemetering, was held at the Riviera Hotel and Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.


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Recent Submissions

  • Automated Analysis Tools for Reducing Spacecraft Telemetry Data

    Voss, T. J.; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    A practical description is presented of the methods used to reduce spacecraft telemetry data using a hierarchial toolkit of software programs developed for a UNIX environment.
  • Magellan Recorder Data Recovery Algorithms

    Scott, Chuck; Nussbaum, Howard; Shaffer, Scott; California Institute of Technology; Hughes Aircraft (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    This paper describes algorithms implemented by the Magellan High Rate Processor to recover radar data corrupted by the failure of an onboard tape recorder that dropped bits. For data with error correction coding, an algorithm was developed that decodes data in the presence of bit errors and missing bits. For the SAR data, the algorithm takes advantage of properties in SAR data to locate corrupted bits and reduce there effects on downstream processing. The algorithms rely on communication approaches, including an efficient tree search and the Viterbi algorithm to maintain the required throughput rate.
  • Batch Processing of Flight Test Data

    Turver, Kim D.; Boeing Commercial Airplane Group (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Boeing's Test Data Retrieval System not only acts as an interface between the Airborne Data Acquisition System and a mainframe computer but also does batch mode processing of data at faster than real time. Analysis engineers request time intervals and measurements of interest. Time intervals and measurements requested are acquired from the flight tape, converted to first order engineering units, and output to 3480 data cartridge tape for post processing. This allows all test data to be stored and only the data of interest to be processed at any given time.
  • A Rugged, Low-Cost, Advanced Data-Acquisition System for Field Test Projects

    Simms, D. A.; Cousineau, K. L.; National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Zond Systems, Inc. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has teamed up with Zond Systems, Inc., to provide a rugged, low-cost, advanced data-acquisition system (ADAS) for use in field test projects. The ADAS simplifies the process of making accurate measurements on mechanical equipment exposed to harsh environments. It provides synchronized, time-series measurement data from multiple, independent sources. The ADAS is currently being used to acquire data from large wind turbines in operational wind-plant environments. ADAS modules are mounted on rotating blades, turbine towers, nacelles, control modules, meteorological towers, and electrical stations. The ADAS has the potential to meet the testing and monitoring needs of many other technologies as well, including vehicles, heavy equipment, piping and power transmission networks, and building energy systems.
  • Implementation of a Low Cost Commercial-Off-the-Shelf Commanding System

    Grich, Richard J., Jr.; Bourassa, Chris R.; Storm Integration, Inc. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Traditional satellite and launch control systems have consisted of custom solutions requiring significant development and maintenance costs. These systems have typically been designed to support specific program requirements and are expensive to modify and augment after delivery. Over the past five years, technical advances have resulted in Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) products which greatly reduce the complete life cycle costs associated with satellite and launch control system procurements. These advances, however, have been restricted to specific functional areas of the satellite and launch control system - most notably, telemetry processing and simulation. Until recently, technological advances in the development of COTS products which support functional areas like commanding and mission planning have lagged behind. This paper describes the development and application of a COTS product which provides a highly advanced commanding capability that is tightly integrated with the processing of telemetry data. This closed loop telemetry and commanding system forms the basis of a satellite or launch control system at a fraction of the cost normally associated with systems of this kind.
  • The History of Telemetry at White Sands Missile Range, NM

    Montano, William G.; Newton, Henry L.; White Sands Missile Range (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    This paper presents a history of telemetry at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico. White Sands Missile Range is located in the Tularosa Basin between the San Andres and the Organ Mountains on the west and the Sacramento Mountains on the east. Designation of more than one million acres of New Mexico range land as a testing areas established White Sands Proving Ground on July 9, 1945 as the Birthplace of Americas Missile and Space activity. On July 16, 1945 the first Atomic Bomb was exploded at Trinity Site. Project Hermes began in November of 1944 with a contract to General Electric by the Ordnance Department to develop a long range guided missile for the Army. Missile testing began in September of 1945 with the firing of Tiny Tim missiles. The capture of German V2 rockets led to testing and firing V2s concurrently with the Hermes. The first two-stage rocket consisted of a WAC Corporal mounted on the nose of a V2. Bumper # 5 set flight records of 5,150 miles an hour and an altitude of 244 miles on February 24, 1949. The paper includes: *Chronological highlights of telemetering events. *Discussion of telemetry systems and events that occurred at WSPG/WSMR from 1944 through 1990. *Telemetry systems and events from 1990 to the present. *Planned future telemetry systems and probable future systems.
  • Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems for Free-Flight Drop Model Testing

    Hyde, Charles R.; Massie, Jeffrey J.; NASA Langley Research Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    This paper presents instrumentation and telemetry system techniques used in free-flight research drop model testing at the NASA Langley Research Center. The free-flight drop model test technique is used to conduct flight dynamics research of high performance aircraft using dynamically scaled models. The free-flight drop model flight testing supplements research using computer analysis and wind tunnel testing. The drop models are scaled to approximately 20% of the size of the actual aircraft. This paper presents an introduction to the Free-Flight Drop Model Program which will be followed by a description of the current instrumentation and telemetry systems used at the NASA Langley Research Center, Plum Tree Test Site. The paper describes three telemetry downlinks used to acquire the data, video, and radar tracking information from the model. Also described are two telemetry uplinks, one used to fly the model employing a ground based flight control computer and a second to activate commands for visual tracking and parachute recovery of the model. The paper concludes with a discussion of free-flight drop model instrumentation and telemetry system development currently in progress for future drop model projects at the NASA Langley Research Center.
  • Video Repeater for the Dry Valleys Region of Antarctica

    Peebles, Michael J.; Robertson, William G., Jr.; Naval Electronic Systems Engineering Center (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    A repeater is being designed to provide a telemetry and compressed video link from a remote robot located in the Dry Valleys Region of Antarctica, over a mountain range to California via McMurdo Antarctica. In return a command link is provided for control. A simple task normally, but a bit more difficult when considerations include the unforgiving elements of Antarctica itself. Even with a design using the most robust equipment, tradeoffs must always be made for the effects of the isolation and the weather. This paper describes one approach to the design of equipment capable of insuring the proper bandwidth, power output, and receive sensitivity that can use the energy provided by Mother Nature to continually charge the primary power source, and the engineering struggle to use electronic equipment in the severe and harsh environment of Antarctica.
  • An Ultrasonic Angular Measurement System

    Redd, Justin D.; Edwards Air Force Base (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    An original design is presented for a system capable of measuring the relative angle of a flat surface using reflected ultrasonic wave pulses. No physical contact with the surface is necessary. The measurement range is from 0 to 54 degrees. Theoretical resolution is 5 minutes of arc, with actual measured resolution of approximately 20 minutes of arc. The system has performed successfully in limited flight tests, is capable of rates up to 80 angle measurements per second, and has a solid-state memory recording capacity of 24,000 bytes. The measurements are time-tagged as they are recorded and may be transferred to a personal computer at a later time over a standard RS-232 serial communications link. The system is small (approx. 6 by 4 by 1.5 inches) and uses two standard 9-volt batteries as its power source.
  • Solid State Data Recorder (SSDR) for Airborne/Space Environment

    Intwala, Jay D.; Wyle Laboratories (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    VME bus has been widely accepted as an industry standard for control and process computers. The MSTI (Miniature Sensor Technology Integration) series of satellites employ a VME bus based data acquisition and control system. This system requires a ruggedized, high-speed, compact, low power and light weight data recorder for storing digital imagery from payload video cameras, as well as health and status data of the satellite. No commercial off the shelf systems were found which meet MSTI specifications. Also, a solid state device eliminates certain reliability and spacecraft pointing control problems which are encountered when using rotating (disk or tape) storage systems. The SSDR was designed to meet these requirements and it also has built-in flexibility for many general purpose applications. The electronic hardware design, which conforms to the VME bus specifications [1], can also be configured as stand-alone system. Modular memory array design allows expandability of capacity up to 320 MBytes. This paper will describe the design features of the SSDR. Performance capabilities and system implementation will be discussed. Special approaches required for application of the SSDR in space or harsh environments are also discussed.
  • High Speed Digital Data Inputs for Thermal Array Chart Recorders

    Gaskill, David M.; Astro-Med Inc. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Many telemetry stations would like to convert from using digital-to analog converters (DAC's) to using direct digital inputs to their chart recorders but can't find a suitable recorder interface. These stations often have hundreds or even thousands of channels of information being bussed around at very high speeds on propriatary real-time computer systems. The lack of standardization has naturally presented recorder manufacturers with problems in selecting the appropriate interface hardware. Standard parallel interfaces, such as SCSI and GPIB, are usually too slow and not really suited for real-time transfer, although they can be used in some circumstances which will be described. The best choice seems to be a general purpose parallel port of at least 16 data bits which can support a large number of addresses. Such an interface can be used with a high speed network like SCRAMNet as well as with a general purpose computer or workstation. This paper will describe several available parallel ports using both TTL and RS-485 (long-line) hardware and some practical implementations of thermal array recorder use with SCRAMNet, GPIB, and general purpose parallel busses.
  • Multiple Channel, Multiple Data Type, Rugged 8mm Recorder

    Harris, Kevin E.; Veda Incorporated (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Low cost recording devices for telemetry and other data acquisition applications are of vital importance in light of today's shrinking budgets and project cut-backs. The desire to replace large, expensive, multi-channel recorders with smaller, less expensive recorders is becoming commonplace in government and industry. Many of these small recorders in the past have been limited to a single recording channel, and to one particular data type, due to recorder architectures. The 8 millimeter (8mm) tape cartridge recorder has been looked at in the past as a low cost recording device, however products utilizing this technology have been strictly limited in the number of channels, and data types. In response to this need, Veda has developed a new data acquisition recorder utilizing an 8mm recorder packaged in a small, flight qualified rugged enclosure with modular, and interchangeable, input channels. These microprocessor controlled inputs are capable of accepting PCM telemetry, MIL-STD-1553, voice, IRIG time, and ARINC 429/629 data. The new architecture allows for multiplexing of multiple channels onto the single channel tape medium as well as direct playback from the recorder for certain data types. This paper will discuss the recorder's architecture, design problems solved during development, and general capabilities.
  • Micro-Track Digital Cassette Recording

    Kayes, Edwin; Penny & Giles Data System (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    The increasing availability of powerful yet relatively inexpensive data acquisition and processing techniques has precipitated a radical reappraisal of the methods used to capture, manipulate and store data of all kinds. Some of the recently introduced recording systems can be used both for fast data capture and for high capacity archival/back-up applications - effectively bridging a long-standing divide between these two formerly diverse aspects of data recording and processing. This paper offers a brief overview of a new technology known as micro-track recording, and suggests ways in which system designers and integrators may take full advantage of its important new facilities and features.
  • Integrated Satellite Control Open System Architecture Design Standards

    Holstein, Dennis K. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Design standards defined in this paper provide the framework to implement an open system architecture to achieve the interoperability requirements for integrated satellite control directed by USCINCSPACE. Ground segment space operations that implement these standards will provide the capability to eliminate the artificial barriers between mission unique ground systems that operate in a stove-pipe manner today. Through common support equipment and advanced workstations, operator cross training will become unnecessary. To implement interoperability, it is necessary to define standard physical, electrical, and communication interfaces and protocols, so components from different manufactures will operate together. Implementation of these standards tends to build on the natural infrastructure of today's satellite operation center and maximize the reuse of common user components for satellite control, mission payload operations and force management. The infrastructure concept uniquely blends the requirements for providing a single operator the capability to perform all tasks for these missions at a single workstation. Prototypes built and tested by the Air Force have demonstrated the feasibility and payoff of this design concept.
  • Using the Telemetry Attributes Transfer Standard

    Takacs, Theodore, Jr. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Telemetry attributes are the detailed items of information needed for a receiving/processing system to acquire and process data from a given test item. There are currently as many different ways to describe telemetry attributes as there are different organizations which provide them (instrumentation groups and aircraft/missile manufacturers) and use them (telemetry processing systems/test ranges). The Telemetry Attributes Transfer Standard (TMATS) has been developed as a method of standardizing the transfer of telemetry attributes information. This paper describes the TMATS standard and discusses its purpose and application.
  • Implementation of CCSDS Telemetry and Command Standards for the Fast Auroral Snapshot (FAST) Small Explorer Mission

    Olsen, Douglas; Hughes STX Corporation (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Recommendations of the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) provide a standard approach for implementing spacecraft packet telemetry and command interfaces. The Fast Auroral Snapshot (FAST) Small Explorer mission relies heavily on the CCSDS virtual channel and packetization concepts to achieve near real-time commanding and distribution of telemetry between separate space borne science and spacecraft processors and multiple ground stations. Use of the CCSDS recommendations allows the FAST mission to realize significant re-use of ground systems developed for the first Small Explorer mission, and also simplifies system interfaces and interactions between flight software developers, spacecraft integrators, and ground system operators.
  • TDRSS Link Budget Design Table

    Minnix, Timothy; Horan, Stephen; New Mexico State University (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    The Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems (CCSDS) has issued a Recommendation CCSDS 401.0-B for Radio Frequency and Modulation Systems to be used in Earth stations and spacecraft. Part of this Recommendation is a standardized design tool for link budget computations. This design tool is intended to assist spacecraft designers in preparing the power and performance designs of their spacecraft for communicating with existing standard ground stations. The present CCSDS Recommendation addresses a link design typical for that found with the Deep Space Network (DSN). DSN link analyses use a large subset of link-specific parameters not of any particular use if the space data link passes through the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS). The link architecture also differs in that the TDRSS parameter set needs to include an extra link through the satellite (two-hop) link versus a DSN-type link which is single-hop. Conversely, the treatment of ranging, PN coding requirements, and TDRSS acquisition and data group formalities are either not of the same format or not present at all on the DSN-type links. The baseline CCSDS 401 design tool is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that can run on an IBM PC or compatible computer. This baseline spreadsheet has been modified to account for the differences between baseline CCSDS model and TDRSS link operations. The paper will discuss the modifications made to the spreadsheet for the TDRSS system details. We will also present example usages of the spreadsheet.
  • Software Techniques for Recovering Noisy Telemetry

    Sweet, John E.; Holmes, Harlan H.; Rockwell International Corporation (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Software techniques for data quality and useability enhancement are used at two steps in the processing of PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) radio telemetry. The first is a software group synchronization which is used where traditional method has failed. The other is a tool for producing a single best quality data file from diverse receivers. Recovering even small segments of valid information from noisy signals may be of major concert. The importance in many applications is because poor signal power is induced by events of great interest such as failure, detonation or exhaust gas dynamics. The radio receiver and bit synchronizer perform nearly optimally in processing of low signal to noise transmissions. It is found that the group synchronization process can be improved with software algorithm. It is convenient to merge available data from a single test into a single file of best available data. Detected signals are recorded at dispersed tracking stations with varying signal quality over time. Upon achieving the best data from each tracking source the reconstructed data from a collection of all sources is further merged. By using known content to detect bit errors a single file of best quality data is available for analysis. Comparative performance data from use on ICBM telemetry is included. A missile is an example of application where the data recovery is particularly critical at events such as staging and launch.
  • Effect of Group Delay Variations on Bit Error Probability

    Law, Eugene; Naval Air Warfare Division, Weapons Division (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    Group delay variations are a potential problem in many communication systems. This paper is slanted towards the effects of group delay variations in analog magnetic recorder/reproducer systems but the results are applicable in general. Because it is difficult to get an arbitrary group delay profile at the output of a recorder/reproducer, a method of generating arbitrary group delays for bit error probability (BEP) testing was developed. A 32-bit pattern in which all five-bit sequences appear with equal probability was selected as the test signal. The amplitude and phase of the discrete Fourier components were calculated for both non-return-to-zero-level (NRZ-L) and biphase-level (BI -L) waveforms. Filtering and group delay variations were computer generated by varying the amplitude and phase of the Fourier components. The modified signals were then programmed into an arbitrary waveform generator. Noise was added and the composite signal was applied to a bit synchronizer and bit error detector. BEPs were measured for various noise levels and group delay profiles.
  • Bit Error Problems with DES

    Loebner, Christopher E. (International Foundation for Telemetering, 1993-10)
    The Data Encryption Standard (DES) was developed in 1977 by IBM for the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) as a standard way to encrypt unclassified data for security protection. When the DES decrypts the encrypted data blocks, it assumes that there are no bit errors in the data blocks. It is the object of this project to determine the Hamming distance between the original data block and the data block after decryption if there occurs a single bit error anywhere in the encrypted bit block of 64 bits. This project shows that if a single bit error occurs anywhere in the 64-bit encrypted data block, a mean Hamming distance of 32 with a standard deviation of 4 is produced between the original bit block an the decrypted bit block. Furthermore, it is highly recommended by this project to use a forward error correction scheme like BCH (127, 64) or Reed-Solomon (127, 64) so that the probability of this bit error occurring is decreased.

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