Airborne Observation Controller

Schuster, Robert (2022) Airborne Observation Controller. [USQ Project]

Text (Project)

Download (5MB) | Preview


Since the formation of NASA, airborne missions have been used to observe objects that are entering the earth’s atmosphere. Airborne missions have the advantage that the aircraft can be deployed almost anywhere in the world. This makes the missions more cost effective than land or space-based observation systems. These systems need to be synchronised so that observations made on different equipment can be compared. Current observation systems generally use onboard timecode generators through a co-axial cable to synchronise the observation equipment. This project aims to determine the feasibility of combining multiple onboard systems into one portable solution designed around a Raspberry Pi.

A custom time synchronisation (CTS) code was written in C programming language and this was compared with the native network time protocol (NTP) on the Raspberry Pi. The performance of the two protocols was tested and compared. Power consumption was measured during both tests. A NAS was setup on the Raspberry Pi which used two USB devices in a RAID1 configuration and its performance was also tested.

The CTS was written so that the time was updated every second. It performed just as well as the NTP in all the tests. The NAS performed as expect with write speeds taking longer as the drives are mirrored in RAID1. With the power consumption observed, the ideal battery backup would be an inverter that can charge the batteries when connected to mains power.

When it comes to an airborne observation mission, either CTS or NTP would work. The benefit of the NTP is the potential to build it into more than just a time synchroniser. A RAID 1 configuration and using an inverter with car batteries will ensure the life of the system and the safety of the data collected. Further work should be done on the effectiveness of a wireless system to further reduce wire clutter. If a more accurate system is needed, research on the use of a GPS with better antennas should be done. The EMC of the system should also be tested and the effect of radiation at high altitudes.

Statistics for USQ ePrint 51902
Statistics for this ePrint Item
Item Type: USQ Project
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current – Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Engineering (1 Jan 2022 -)
Supervisors: Leis, John
Qualification: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) (Electrical and Electronic)
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2023 04:35
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2023 04:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: airborne missions; onboard systems; custom time synchronisation (CTS)

Actions (login required)

View Item Archive Repository Staff Only