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Chapter: Avionics and Instrumentation Technologies, new invention technology, Research project papers,

Networked Instrumentation

Networked Instrumentation
Avionics and Instrumentation Technologies, Advancing technology and science through flight 2014, Research, Technology, and Engineering Accomplishments, National Aeronautics and Space Administration NASA, Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center. new invention technology, Research project papers;

Networked Instrumentation


Armstrong researchers have developed a networked instrumentation system that connects modern experimental payloads to existing analog and digital communications infrastructures. In airborne applications, this system enables a cost-effective, long-range, line-of-sight network link over the S and L frequency bands that support data rates up to 10 megabits per second (Mbps) and a practically unlimited number of independent data streams. The resulting real-time payload link allows researchers to make in-flight adjustments to experimental parameters, increasing overall data quality and eliminating the need to repeat flights.



Work to date: The team has developed and flight-tested the 10 Mbps bidirectional aircraft-to-ground line-of-sight network. A follow-on project, Space-Based Range Demonstration and Certification (SBRDC) Flight Demonstration #2, involved integration of this system with a phased-array antenna and controller to provide a 10-Mbps over-the-horizon network downlink. This prototype system was further refined into a more operational system that provided the Airborne Research Test System (ARTS) aboard the Full-Scale Advanced Systems Testbed (FAST) access to thousands of parameters from the heavily instrumented aircraft. Engineers were able to view ARTS network data output in the control room, without replacing any aircraft instrumentation or ground equipment.



Looking ahead: Work has begun to design a new system that incorporates state-of-the-art transceiver technology. The new system is expected to significantly increase throughput up to 40 Mbps.




 Flexible: Expands the utility of existing airborne platforms with legacy communications systems by supporting


state-of-the-art payloads that leverage current network technology


 Economical: Achieves a bidirectional line-of-sight network without the need to replace existing communications infrastructure


 Flight efficient: Reduces the need for repeat flights by offering real-time control of experimental parameters


 Avionics and Instrumentation Technologies


Armstrong innovators design and integrate data acquisition systems for research, support, and one-of-a-kind platforms. In many cases, these systems leverage commercial off-the-shelf parts to keep costs low and ease integration with legacy systems. At the same time, these cutting-edge data systems are finding innovative ways not only to collect data efficiently but also to flexibly configure collection parameters.


Designed for aerospace applications, many of these innovations can benefit numerous industries in a variety of situations where data optimization is critical, such as manufacturing operations, business processes, and energy management, to name a few.

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