EMCORE Corporation, a leading provider of advanced mixed-signal products that serve the aerospace & defense and broadband communications markets, has achieved success in an ultra-high-altitude flight simulation.
The simulation was featured in an article about CAST Navigation titled “A True Reference” in the September-October issue of Inside GNSS. CAST Navigation builds simulators for testing and validating GNSS/INS performance in high-end navigation systems and EMCORE’s SDN500 INS (Inertial Navigation System) was tested in the simulation for the article.
EMCORE relies on GNSS/INS simulators for hardware-in-the-loop testing to verify the expected performance of algorithms. In the test discussed in this article, EMCORE sought to validate the velocity and altitude limits of a new GNSS receiver along with the algorithm performance in a tactical grade SDN500 system. In the final analysis, the GNSS receiver and navigation algorithm was confirmed to operate as expected throughout the operation for all three of the customer’s dynamic constraint scenarios.
“We were extremely pleased to demonstrate how EMCORE takes advantage of the functionality contained in the CAST simulator to prove-out our robust product performance in customer environments,” said David Hoyh, EMCORE’s Director of Sales & Marketing for navigation products. “I would like to thank Inside GNSS and CAST Navigation for the opportunity to contribute and promote the SDN500,” added Mr. Hoyh.
This test requires simulating performance at an altitude over 24,000 meters and velocities over 600 m/s. Only a few aircraft in the world have such capabilities including the SR-71 Blackbird, but it is not practical to participate in a test flight on the SR-71. Simulating the SDN500 INS test flight to specific customer profiles on a CAST system is straightforward and cost-effective. Testing began with a stationary period on the ground while the SDN500 initializes and transitions into air navigation mode. Then the flight trajectory entered a series of maneuvers, speed, and altitude changes that provided observability for various parameters with corresponding changes in the calculated figures.
Andy Williams, Senior Field Application Engineer at EMCORE who spearheaded the effort, explains, “During the times when there was no valid solution from the GNSS receiver, the algorithm maintained an accurate solution using only the data from the IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). In addition, there was no algorithm instability or discontinuity when the GNSS receiver resumed, providing a solution to the algorithm. Throughout this entire profile, even when GNSS signal is lost, the SDN500 maintains an accurate navigation solution. This test is not possible without the synchronized GNSS radio frequency and trajectory matching IMU data provided by the CAST system.”