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Enhanced Timing-Programming System

Description:

OUSD (R&E) CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY AREA(S): Advanced Computing and Software; Hypersonics; Microelectronics; Integrated Network System-of-Systems; Human-Machine Interfaces

 

OBJECTIVE: Develop a modernized system to control timing distribution and electronic event capture with nanosecond accuracy along a 10-mile-long high-speed test track. The system should integrate legacy stand-alone systems into a single overarching mission control system.

 

DESCRIPTION: The Holloman High Speed Test Track carries out rocket sled tests at speeds ranging from subsonic to hypersonic.  The track utilizes a diverse array of sensors to control event timing and capture data.  For example, sled velocity is captured using continuous wave Doppler radar; sled position is captured using precisely located breakwires that are time-stamped when the sled breaks them as it passes by; meteorological variables such as altitude, temperature, humidity, and wind speed are captured using various sensors located along the track.  Additionally, high-speed camera arrays are used to capture sled and test article behavior throughout the test.  Test events, such as seat ejections or bomb impacts, must be initiated, tracked, and terminated using accurate common time to align input & output data across multiple sensor platforms.  The current Timer-Programmer control system was updated in the 1980s and utilizes a copper cable network that extends from a centralized control facility to utility risers along the 10 miles of track as well as to various bunkers.  It does not incorporate all data collection and control systems currently in use.

 

This SBIR topic focuses on replacement of the legacy Timer-Programmer system.  The new system should provide common timing to distributed data collection and event control systems, provide controlled timing of test events, measure event times, and report data.  It should use the existing copper cabling infrastructure and integrate other independent data acquisition systems into one overarching mission control system.  The system needs to output nanosecond accuracy timing to multiple locations traveling distances as great as eight miles.  It must time tag events in the field with nanosecond accuracy and relay back to a base station computer for processing.  All data collected must be stored in a centralized data base for post-mission analysis.  The system should integrate real-time data from multiple dispersed data collection and control equipment (radars, ultrasonic anemometers, cameras, McQ portable event controllers) into one heads-up display.  The system must deliver real time in formats required by various data collection and event control systems, general time, programmable frequencies, and programmable DC level signals which are outputted through balanced and unbalanced line drivers.  In addition, these line drivers should be computer controllable for output signal selection, amplitude and on and off times.  Standard data collection reports should include sled first motion, velocity window computations, parallel and serial event times, and weather data.  The system must passively record mission day land mobile radio communications for post-test display or playback.  Data should be downloadable to widely used data formats such as Microsoft Excel or to structured query language server format for post-mission analysis.  Other user requirements include the ability to initiate or terminate events on a programmed time schedule; real-time operator ability to stop/start/restart tests for safety reasons; high system reliability; ability to expand the system to incorporate new equipment in the future; low-maintenance need; low upkeep costs; and non-intrusive for existing wireless systems.

 

PHASE I: Conduct a feasibility study that decomposes user-level timing, event control and data collection requirements into technical requirements, identifies options (equipment and/or infrastructure) that will meet requirements, and provide an approach for developing a replacement Timer-Programmer system.

 

PHASE II: Develop and demonstrate a functional system that will provide timing and event controls to meet user requirements.  Deliver a deployable system ready for immediate integration into Track operations with only the need for technician training.

 

PHASE III DUAL USE APPLICATIONS: This technology will have applications to other government, university and commercial test facilities involved highly dynamic test events.

 

REFERENCES:

  1. https://www.arnold.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3398244/846th-ts-brings-the-need-for-speed-to-holloman/;
  2. https://www.arnold.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3050680/holloman-high-speed-test-track-sets-record-with-fastest-recovery-mission-in-30/;
  3. https://www.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/3337705/joint-effort-underway-to-power-rocket-sleds-into-the-future/;

 

KEYWORDS: Timer-Programmer; mission control; event control; data collection

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