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Proceedings Paper

Advanced testing methods for acquisition, tracking, and pointing
Author(s): Henry Sebesta
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Paper Abstract

The technology of testing to determine system level performance of tracking and pointing systems has evolved in recent years. Modern multichannel data acquisition, processing, and analysis systems have allowed development of new test methods that significantly increase our ability to understand and quantify system performance and the sources of performance limitations. Pointing and tracking systems control the inertial orientation of a variety of critical payloads in applications such as weapons delivery, surveillance, target discrimination, missile guidance, communication, gunnery, directed energy systems, and many others. In systems with stringent performance requirements, it is necessary to accurately identify, measure, and account for test environment effects and associated induced disturbances on the errors of the pointing and tracking system.

The keys to the improved approach to testing complex pointing and tracking systems are the coherence analysis algorithms developed in recent years by Dr. Julius Bendat et a!. The underlying concept is that all environmental and test induced disturbances are instrumented and simultaneously recorded with the signals that characterize the pointing and tracking system performance. The hypothesis on which data analysis is predicated is that a set of measured disturbances (or inputs) accounts for the measured performance error (output). The coherence analysis algorithms permit the test analyst to break up the performance signal into components caused by each of the input paths and to quantify that part of the performance not allocatable to any of the measured disturbances.

The authors have exploited the coherence analysis methods to accurately characterize the tracking and stabilization performance of equipment being prepared for a space experiment. The environment in the ground test facilities is significantly different from that expected in the space environment and would have obscured the true system performance. Therefore, vibration signals acquired on a high bandwidth, simultaneous data collection computer were analyzed using the multiple input coherence analysis algorithm to accurately determine influences of each disturbance input on the performance. This paper presents a tutorial on the advanced testing methodology and illustrates how significant testing challenges were addressed. The ability to confirm the adequacy of the system performance would not be possible without the use of the advanced tools. The techniques are applicable to system level performance testing of a broad range of complex pointing and tracking systems.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 September 1990
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Proc. SPIE 1304, Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing IV, (1 September 1990); doi: 10.1117/12.2322213
Show Author Affiliations
Henry Sebesta, Applied Technology Associates (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1304:
Acquisition, Tracking, and Pointing IV
Sankaran Gowrinathan, Editor(s)

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