Echo Time Distance Measurements for Nanosatellite Arrays
This proposal presents a technique for the precise determination of distance between nodes of a planar array of nanosatellites for synthetic aperture and sensor array applications. The proposed effort will result in a navigational technique that can precisely determine the positions of nanosatellite sensor nodes in the array. The proposed innovation enables higher performance and low cost sensor array development, while fitting within the size constraints, limited communication ability, and operational duty cycles of nanosatellites.The technique presented depends on echo time measurement between a satellite and its neighbors. That is, the satellite generates a RF signal that is received by its neighbors and echoed back. Differential measurements are taken to subtract out delays introduced by the propagating hardware. The distances between pairs of neighboring satellites can then be combined with bearing and orientation information to precisely map the spatial arrangement of the satellite array. Combined with bearing and orientation measurements, this technique solves the precise position determination (PPD) problem using nanosatellites; that is, position determination within the sensor array with accuracy suitable for synthetic aperture formation.
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American Academy of Aeronautics
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