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“A Small, Modular, Avionics Suite for Responsive Launch Vehicle and Satellite Applications”


Space Information Laboratories, Inc. (SIL) Vehicle Based Independent Tracking System (VBITS), is a plug-and-play, open stackable modular bus architecture that allows for use of state of the art technologies in GPS receivers, Inertial Measurement Units (IMUs), processor, communication, and Radio Frequency (RF) transmission technologies for direct and/or beyond line of site data retrieval applications. VBITS is a multipurpose avionics PnP technology that can be used to satisfy multiple aerospace vehicle applications like GPS metric tracking, autonomous flight safety system (AFSS), and space based range. It can also be used for a satellite bus system and payload experiment data and control applications.

VBITS can be used in conjunction with a space-based range through LEO/GEO satellites and autonomous flight safety techniques that have great potential to reduce user and DoD test range costs and can be used to meet Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) objectives and requirements. The VBITS open stackable modular technology allows quick unit repair. The VBITS unit has internal sensors and diagnostics and can be remotely monitored with a portable computer prior to flight. The VBITS design also allows for ease of manufacturability and system/unit level testing.

Five VBITS production units were fully qualified and acceptance tested to Minuteman III levels, based on requirements in the Eastern/Western Range GPS RCC 324-01 and EWR 127-01. The VBITS units have undergone full environmental qualification and acceptance testing successfully at Minuteman III and C4 missile levels for the DoD. One year of GPS Simulation runs were performed at Applied Physics Laboratory in coordination with SIL, Inc., flying off many COTS GPS Receivers capable of uninterpolated 20Hz position, velocity, GPS/UTC time, and raw GPS data for downlink. Test results and GPS receiver lessons learned from the many APL GPS simulator runs for a wide body missile with two patch antennas are presented.


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