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Highlights of Research
Laboratories and large-scale facilities
ADVANTAGE - Advanced Technologies for Navigation and Geodesy
The introduction of optical frequency references, atom interferometry, as well as of optical ranging and communications, creates new opportunities for systems based on time and frequency dissemination. The project investigates innovative architectures for a future satellite system that fully exploits the benefits of each of the aforementioned technologies. The architecture shall be based on a satellite constellation, named Kepler, divided into two segments: twenty-four Medium-Earth-Orbit (MEO) satellites and at least four Low-Earth-Orbits (LEO) satellites. MEO satellites shall be equipped with laser-stabilized cavities, characterized by Allan deviations down to 1e-14 and beyond for short integration time intervals, whereas LEO satellites shall be equipped with stable optical references (e.g. Iodine-based optical clocks). Optical terminals placed on each satellite will allow inter-satellite links (ILS), enabling tight intra- and inter-plane synchronization across the whole constellation, and providing absolute (sub-mm) inter-satellite ranging.
ALPS - Alternative Positioning System
Global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) have been identified as primary means of navigation for aeronautics in the future and enable efficient procedures. But GNSS is vulnerable to radio frequency interference and space weather. The project Alternative Positioning System (ALPS) develops an alternative positioning navigation and timing system, composed of different terrestrial systems and on board sensors to function as a backup in case of a GNSS outage.
Future navigation services provided by upcoming satellite systems like Galileo will require corresponding improvements of the receiving systems. Particularly, interference and multipath signals may cause a significant degradation of the performance and thus make it impossible, to obtain exact and reliable positioning data. These restrictions and uncertainties cannot be tolerated for Safety-of-Life (SoL) applications e.g. in aeronautics and shipping. In order to overcome this problem, adaptively steered antenna arrays are employed, which enable the use of new beamforming and signal processing algorithms. They provide a more exact and reliable navigation solution, by suppressing interferences and multipath signals and improving the reception of the information signal from the direction of the satellite.
The acronym Galileo SMF ist standing for Signal Monitoring Facility for Galileo FOC Phase. To the beginning of 2011 the institute was mandated to provide a measurement and analysis service in cooperation with the GSOC for the Galileo FOC satellites. Aim of the project is to provide the European Commission represented by European Space Agency and their industry partners (Thales Alenia Space) an independent possibility for measurement of the Signal-in-Space (SIS) of the Galileo satellites after their launch and the In-Orbit Test (IOT) phase.
HEIMDALL – Multi-Hazard Cooperative Management Tool for Data Exchange, Response Planning and Scenario Building
The EU H2020 project HEIMDALL aims at enhancing the response capabilities to disasters of society as a whole. Thus 14 European partners from academia, research insitutions, industry, authorities, and emergency response organizations join forces to develop and demonstrate a modular, flexible and scalable architecture that provides key stakeholders with relevant tools to process the available data and improve preparedness of societies in relation to emergency management, thus enhancing response capacity of society as a whole.
IMPACT - Intelligent Magnetic Positioning for Avoiding Collisions of Trains
The aim of the project IMPACT ("Intelligent Magnetic Positioning for Avoiding Collisions of Trains") is the research and prototypical implementation of a reliable and highly available localization system for railway vehicles that is independent of dedicated infrastructure and based on methods taken from the area of artificial intelligence (AI).
Accelerometer measurements are used in two major topics in Earth observations, namely gravity field recovery and thermosphere studies. We have shown that the thermospheric signatures in the GOCE gravity gradients are due to an unexpected quadratic response of the instruments to the accelerations acting on the satellite. A hypothesis has been worked out, implying the fact that the quadratic factor and other disturbances seen on the accelerometers are coupled together. This hypothesis will be evaluated further, strengthened in experiments and the impact on gravity field recovery as well as thermosphere and ionosphere studied. For gravity field this means an improvement of the GOCE satellite only gravity field by reducing the noise in the gradients and recalibrating the gradiometer. For the Swarm satellite mission, this means an enhancement of the scientific outcome of the accelerometer data by studying high amplitude signals in times of ionospheric storms. An elaborated data processing schema is necessary to make use of these instruments, so an uncertainty estimation procedure will we established evaluating the quality of the retrieved neutral density. Assimilating the neutral density into a physical based ionosphere-thermosphere coupling model the dynamics in the ionosphere at times of storms can be studied. As validation is very important a validation concept is worked out. Therefore, an empirical ionosphere model is enlarged further.
OGSOP-NG - Optical Ground Station Oberpfaffenhofen - Next Generation
Das Institut für Kommunikation und Navigation betreibt die Optische Bodenstation Oberpfaffenhofen (Optical Ground Station Oberpfaffenhofen: OGSOP) für Forschung im Bereich der optischen Freiraumkommunikation durch die Atmosphäre. In den letzten Jahren gewann diese Forschung immer mehr an Bedeutung. Die gestiegenen Anforderungen an die Messstation brachten die Erkenntnis, dass eine umfangreiche Weiterentwicklung für die zukünftigen Forschungsarbeiten notwendig ist. Durch umfangreiche Erweiterungen und Umbauten wird die Voraussetzung für komplexere und umfangreichere Experimente geschaffen werden. Der Aufbau der Installation ist in drei Bestandteile aufgegliedert, die zusammen genommen die "Optische Bodenstation Oberpfaffenhofen Next Generation" ergeben: Das Coudé-Labor, der Testsender und der Atmosphärenmessgarten.
OGS-OP - Optische Bodenstation Oberpfaffenhofen
Die Optische Bodenstation Oberpfaffenhofen (Optical Ground Station Oberpfaffenhofen, kurz OGS-OP) wurde zur Gewinnung wissenschaftlicher Messdaten in den verschiedensten Szenarien optischer Freiraumkommunikation entwickelt. Somit können beispielsweise Flugzeug- und Satelliten-Experimente mit ihr durchgeführt werden. Eine flexible optische Bank ermöglicht dabei die Installation verschiedener Messgeräte zur Charakterisierung der atmosphärischen Einflüsse auf die Laserdatenübertragung.
OSIRIS - Optical Space Infrared Downlink System
Mit den steigenden Sensorkapazitäten von modernen Erdbeobachtungssatelliten wächst der Bedarf an Datenübertragungssystemen, welche eine hohe Datenrate zur Verfügung stellen können. Insbesondere bei Kleinsatelliten („BIRD-Klasse“, ca. 50x50x50cm) hat die Kombination aus hoher Datenübertragungsrate, geringem Gewicht, niedrigem Leistungsverbrauch und kleinem Formfaktor höchste Priorität. Hierzu bieten sich miniaturisierte Laser-Sendeterminals für direkte optische Downlinks an, welche mit Antennendurchmessern von wenigen Zentimetern sehr kleine und leichte Bauformen aufweisen. Zudem unterliegt diese Übertragungstechnologie keinerlei Frequenzvergaberestriktionen.
QUBE - Sichere Satellitenkommunikation mit Quantenschlüsseln
Innerhalb des Forschungsverbundes QUBE wird das Ziel verfolgt Kerntechnologien für weltweite abhörsichere Kommunikation mittels satellitenbasierter Quantenschlüsselverteilung zu entwickeln und zu demonstrieren. Das DLR trägt im Verbund mit seiner Expertise im Bereich der optischen Freistrahlkommunikation und deren Nutzung für die Quantenkommunikation zum Projekt o.ä. bei. Insbesondere wird das miniaturisierte Cubesat-Terminal OSIRIS4Cubesat hinsichtlich der Nutzung für die Quantenkommunikation zu OSIRIS4QUBE weiterentwickelt. Weiteres Vorhaben ist die Aufnahme von Messdaten des durch die turbulente Atmosphäre gestörten Laserstrahls. Das Projekt QUBE ist ein Pilotprojekt der Initiative QUTEGA (Quantentechnologie – Grundlagen und Anwendungen).
Aviation safety is of paramount concern to everyone in the aerospace industry. Cockpit workload and specifically pilot workload and situational awareness have been identified as key contributors to aircraft safety. The objective of the REACTOR project is to develop and evaluate a suite of technologies in support of reduced cockpit workload and improved situational awareness.
The project will setup in the Baltic Sea the world-wide first testbed for the new maritime terrestrial backup system, R-Mode, that utilises two so called maritime signals-of-opportunity at once. This is an important step towards the resilient provision of Positioning, Navigation and Timing (PNT) information on-board a vessel which is requested by maritime organisations. The institute will focus in this project on the R-Mode signal design for ranging transmissions in medium and very high frequency band, development of methods for range and position estimation, integration of R-Mode into a PNT data processing unit and international standardisation of R-Mode. The DLR leads this Flagship project of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region (EUSBSR). Project partners are national maritime administrations, research institutions and industry from four EU countries.
The joint project ROSANNA is based on the results of the research project KOSERNA and the concept study ROSANNA-Konzept and applies them to safety-relevant areas of satellite navigation. Two promising, safety-critical applications were identified that require high-precision and particularly robust navigation: The automotive sector, especially with regard to fully automated and driverless driving, manoeuvring and transport, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). Both applications pose special challenges that require fundamental investigations. Promising preliminary studies were successfully carried out within the framework of ROSANNA-Konzept, which are now to be translated into practical designs and suitable demonstrators. The Institute KN is mainly engaged in the challenges resulting from the use of adaptive antennas on UAVs. These include light and compact antenna systems, tracking loops, inclusion of additional sensors as well as interference from the platform and spoofing signals. The project also serves to gain scientific competence in the field of installed antennas as well as the influence of vibration and rotors and their consideration in beamforming, direction-of-arrival estimation and interference suppression.
The project ROSANNA-concept adopts the core results of the KOSERNA research project and applies them to safety-relevant areas of satellite navigation. Two promising safety-critical applications have been identified that require highly accurate and particularly robust navigation: The automotive sector, especially with regard to fully automated and driverless driving, shunting and transport, as well as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Both applications pose special challenges that require basic research. These tasks are to be processed and solved conceptually within the framework of ROSANNA-concept. The KN Institute is mainly concerned with the challenges posed by the use of adaptive antennas on UAVs. These include lightweight and compact antenna systems, tracking loops, integration of additional sensors, platform interference and deceptive signals. The project also serves to acquire scientific competence in the field of installed antennas as well as the influence of vibration and rotors and their consideration in beamforming, direction-of-arrival estimation and interference suppression.
Space based GNSS measurements become more and more a significant data source for observing the ionosphere. Radio occultation and topside measurements can cover remote areas where ground-based GNSS reference networks are not available. Covering those areas is crucial for the understanding of ionospheric processes with their highly dynamic temporal and spatial changes. We will furthermore investigate and exploit the potential of space-based data for 3D modelling of the Ionosphere in near real-time.
Standardization of Optical Satellite Downlinks
Optical Data Downlinks from Earth Observation Satellites will in future allow an increase of downlink capacity in orders of magnitude.
The project THRUST shows the feasibility of optical communications as key enabling technology in future satellite communication systems for global connectivity. In frame of project THRUST, DLR has proven the technology in worst-case link conditions. The researchers have set the world-record for highest data throughput in free-space optical communications link twice. Moreover, we demonstrated high-fidelity optical coherent communications system performance and shown how the pre-distortion adaptive optics could be employed. DLR will further focus to demonstrate end-to-end performance targeting prototype of future system.
V2X-DuRail – Vehicle-to-Everything Radio for digital urban train communication
Collection of data for the coexistence of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) in urban road and urban railway.
X2Rail is a series of five projects that are part of the Shift2Rail initiative. This programme is a European rail initiative to seek focused research and innovation (R&I) and market-driven solutions by accelerating the integration of new and advanced technologies into innovative rail product solutions.
Low-Earth-orbit (LEO) satellites require both data links for telemetry, tracking and command (TT&C) and for download of mission data (e.g., Earth observation). A single ground station can maintain a contact to a passing LEO satellite for relatively short time only (typically ~10 min), and together with high-resolution sensor systems onboard the satellites producing high amounts of data this leads to a serious bottleneck. In fact, depending on the actual orbit parameters (altitude and inclination) the long-term average visibility as seen from one ground station is only 1% to 6% of the overall orbit time.
Highlights of Research
OSIRIS - laser communication in space
QKD - with quantum technologies to the secure internet of the future
Kepler - third generation of satellite navigation systems
Autonomy and Cooperation
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