ANTARES (AeroNauTicAl REsources Satellite based) is the phase B study designing a new Satellite Communication System for Air Traffic Management, within the Iris programme (element 10 of ARTES).
The Iris programme is the satellite-based solution for the Single European Sky ATM Research (SESAR) programme. By 2020 it will contribute to the modernisation of air traffic management by providing digital data links to cockpit crews in continental and oceanic airspace.
Within the Iris Programme, ANTARES is a two-year study that focuses on the development of a new, purpose-built, satellite-based communication system including low-cost user terminals and a new satellite communication standard. The performance of the telecommunication protocols selected for the standard will be verified end-to-end by a Verification Test Bed.
The main objectives of the ANTARES study are:
- The specification, design, development and testing of a new communication standard for satellite-based Air Traffic Management communications up to the level required for international standardisation.
- Design and development of a test bed in order to validate the end-to-end performance of the new communication standard, on the basis of the SESAR requirements.
- Design of the overall Satellite Communication System and all its elements including Space and Ground Segment.
- Develop a proof of concept and a prototype of a low-cost user terminal onboard aircraft.
During the study the following activities will also be carried out:
- Requirements consolidation of the system, the system elements and the external interfaces to a level enabling the issue of technical specifications for the space and ground segment.
- Selection of a system architecture as a result of a trade-off between several options.
- Preliminary design definition and justification for the operational system and its elements, including the internal and external interfaces.
- Definition of the approach for system verification and validation, and plan in view of a service certification from aviation safety authorities.
- Preliminary design definition and justification of the Pre-Operational System required for System Validation and its elements.
- Support to ESA in consolidating programmatic aspects, by assessing the impact of requirements and constraints from external entities (operators, institutional entities, airlines, etc,) in terms of associated cost, development and deployment schedule.
The satellite-based communication system developed in the Iris Programme is part of the Future Radio System (FRS) infrastructure allowing aircraft to access the Air Traffic Management (ATM) entities, such as the Airline Operational Controls (AOCs) and the Air Navigation Service Providers (ANSPs), by using radio communications. The ATM entities are interconnected by means of a ground distribution network, namely the Aeronautical Telecommunications Network (ATN), which may be based on the ATN/OSI or ATN/IPS communication protocols. The ATN ground distribution network, also referred to as Pan European Network (PEN), along with FRS, forms the Future Communications Infrastructure (FCI).
The need of a dual link to support air-ground communication in high-density continental airspace has been recognized of key importance by the SESAR working groups. This dual link will rely on two separate means of communication to avoid common points of failure; one link relies on a new terrestrial line-of-sight technology in L-Band (LDACS), while a satellite communication system will also provide communication services over high-density continental areas to ensure the required availability.
Moreover, the satellite communication system is regarded as primary mean of communication in the oceanic, remote and polar zones where no terrestrial radio technology is available. The satellite communication system role is shown in the following figure:
Satellite Communication System role for ATM
click for larger image
The ANTARES satellite-based communications system will be specifically designed to meet the operational, commercial and service requirements associated with the air-ground communications for ATM. The proposed system is based on a geostationary (GEO) satellites’ constellation allowing service coverage on the ECAC area.
The ANTARES system will be composed of three main segments:
- Space segment: comprising the constellation of GEO satellites as well as the Satellite Operations Centre (SOC) and the Satellite Control Centre (SCC).
- Ground segment: comprising the Ground Earth Station(s) (GES), the Network Control Centre(s) (NCC), the Network Management Centre(s) (NMC).
- User Segment: comprising the mobile Aeronautical Earth Station(s) (AES) or User Terminal (UT) installed on-board the aircraft.
The boundaries of the ANTARES system versus the overall new European ATM system are depicted in the following figure. The communication protocols will be designed to be operable on any type of satellite (GEO, LEO, HEO…) so that other geographical regions could implement compatible systems.
ANTARES (yellow) vs EATM (blue)
click for larger image
The ANTARES end-to-end system architecture will be defined during the Phase B activity by identifying the set of functionality to be supported and by dimensioning the system so as to provide the communication services to the estimated population of aircrafts with the required performance. This activity will address the overall system, its component segments (and the relevant elements forming them), the system internal interfaces and the system external interfaces (e.g. the satellite system interface to the European ATM network).
The ANTARES project is undergoing Phase B, being split in:
- Phase B1, to analyze requirements and provide options to SESAR:
- Phase B1 to be concluded by the System Requirement Review (SRR).
- Phase B2, devoted to system and segments consolidation and preliminary detail design and Communication Standard Verification Test Bed (VTB) Development:
- Phase B2 to be concluded by the System Preliminary Design Review (PDR) and CS Acceptance Review.
The ANTARES project main milestones are the following:
- KOM (Kick Off Meeting): 5th November 2009,
- SRR (System Requirement Review): 15th November 2010,
- PDR (Preliminary Design Review): October 2013,
- CS Acceptance Review: December 2013.
Aviation requirements are the main drivers for the system design. More in particular: need of low-cost and easy to install user terminals.
The ANTARES project will set the basis for providing a Satellite Communication System tailored to the requirements of SESAR JU:
- Safety-of-life applications rigorously assured: The safety-of-life applications are supported by respecting the stringent availability, continuity, integrity and latency requirements defined in the ESA SRD and in COCR documents by means of a specific system design. This design is based on (i) extensive and comprehensive RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability and Safety) analyses at system and segments levels, (ii) a dedicated space segment for the requested services availability and (iii) an ad-hoc Communication Standard designed in order to comply with the COCR performance requirements.
- ATM - dedicated Satellite Communication System: Purposely designed for safety-of-life communication services (ATS/AOC) so as to guarantee the high reliability and availability performances required as well as to minimise the user terminals cost and the L-band frequency spectrum usage. The overall system is dimensioned for low cost avionics by appropriately optimizing system, segment and Communication Standard features. A dedicated satellite communication system guarantees availability by avoiding possible priority conflicts with respect to other missions sharing the same satellite resources in case of non-dedicated missions.
- Low cost User Terminal: A satellite communication system designed to minimise the complexity as well as the production, installation and maintenance costs of the airborne User Terminal adopting a low cost omnidirectional antenna suitable for all the aircraft categories.
- Open Communication Standard fully devoted to the avionics needs: Designed to achieve the performances required for the Single European Sky new services in continental and oceanic airspace for all types of aircrafts (including rotary-wing) and, at the same time, minimizing the L-band frequency spectrum usage. The Communication Standard is designed so as to be suitable in any type of satellite system constellations (GEO, HEO, MEO etc.) and to operate in very large networks with high number of aircrafts. The Communication Standard specifications will be made available to any interested party worldwide.
- Optimized system throughput: an efficient use of communication resource is obtained by means of adaptive waveforms, dynamic resources assignment etc.
- System compatibility to both centralized and de-Centralized ground segment architectures: to be selected depending on service providers needs and future evolution of the ATM service scenario.
- System designed to have high ATM traffic load flexibly: the ANTARES system is able to support and accommodate variable traffic distribution over service area and to follow aircraft and data traffic growth over time. This is obtained by implementing system and satellite payload solutions to support flexible and reconfigurable frequency plan, power – to – beams allocation flexibility and by means of a suitable satellite constellation deployment strategy based on incremental traffic needs reducing commercial risks.
This will contribute to the modernisation of European air traffic management.
Current Status (dated: 01 Oct 2012)
The SRR has been successfully completed and the Phase B1 concluded.
Following the authorization of ESA on June 2012, the Phase B2 has been initiated by the Industrial Team which has been further reinforced with the involvement of WISER, Antwerp Space, Spacebell, Ubizen Aethis and JAST SA.
The main objectives of the Phase B2 are:
- Complete the Design and Specification of the CS,
- Refine the System Design and Segment,
- Detail Design of the Validation System,
- Define the Operational System,
- Develop and Procure the Verification Test Bed,
- Prototype and Test the UT (both CA and CA),
- Verify the CS by using the VTB.