Improved AFSCN FCT Simulator

Period of Performance: 07/08/2014 - 03/30/2015

$150K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Braxton Technologies, LLC
6 North Tejon St Suite 220
Colorado Springs, CO 80903
Principal Investigator

Research Topics

Abstract

ABSTRACT: Braxton Technologies leverages our nearly 20 years experience working with the AFSCN to accomplish the research for the Improved AFSCN Factory Compatibility Test Simulator. Our specific experience includes our Commercial Off-the-Shelf product, AceSIM, which is one of two products approved to validate a Satellite Operations Center s (SOC) ability to connect to the AFSCN. The GPS program relies heavily on AceSIM for validation, testing and rehearsals, and it is the critical component of our approach. Overall, our method is to provide an FCT simulator equipped with as much software as possible; reducing the procurement and maintenance costs of the hardware, reducing the footprint to increase the transportability, and reducing the system complexity to eliminate the need for onsite expert operations support. Braxton typically addresses engineering problems by employing prototyping techniques. We propose a prototyping approach to validate our research, and we can accomplish the analysis and the prototype within the cost and schedule parameters levied by the SBIR program. The Air Force can use the prototype to validate the merits of advancing the research. BENEFIT: Braxton anticipates several benefits of a software based Factory Compatibility Testing (FCT) capability. First, a significant reduction in cost can be achieved with a software simulation over the current hardware heavy implementation of the existing Automated Remote Tracking Station (ARTS) and Remote Block Change (RBC) Transportable Space Test and Evaluation Resources (TSTRs). Second, the system will be easier to transport and will require fewer personnel to operate. Third, the system will be less costly to sustain with fewer hardware components. Fourth, by reducing the cost, more satellite programs will be able to conduct Air Force Satellite Control Network (AFSCN) compatibility testing prior to launch, reducing potential on-orbit failures. From a commercial standpoint, there were over 200 satellites launched in 2013. The proposed software based FCT could be tailored to simulate commercial satellite ground networks and perform FCT for all satellites prior to launch, or validate multiple ground networks for a single satellite that plans to get support from more than one ground network.