Control and tracking system for ground station antennae
Modern system for controlling antennae and telescopes for satellite monitoring
Project duration: during 2010
Project manager: Tomáš Turek
The main objective of project was development of a modern system for control of antennas and telescopes, with the focus on tracking satellites and other objects near the Earth. This refers not only to satellites but also space debris, asteroids, etc.
The project also focused on improving the comfort of observation itself, widening scope of observation opportunities and increasing accuracy of tracking of objects in the vicinity of the Earth. An important part of the project was design of control system. It is based on standardised platform, used in industrial automation applications, which is programmable logical controller (PLC) and visualisation PC based station (SCADA). Used commercial off-the-shelf components significantly shortened development time, reduced costs, increased reliability of the system and provided better options in relation to service and spare parts.
The main and most complicated task was to devise a set of algorithms for a very precise monitoring of fast-flying objects. Apart of designing special regulators for motor control, a correction model, which took into account various inaccuracies like that dependant on the mount of the telescope, had to be implemented. Control software also significantly improved the comfort of operation and observation features.
The results of the development were practically implemented and tested on Optical Ground Station at the observatory La Teide on Tenerife. An obsolete control system of 1m telescope was replaced at the station. New system was successfully tested and put into operation in November 2010 and since then it serves for daily observations.
The company is a leading supplier of industrial automation, robotics and IT systems. Its customers come from various industries and research institutions. Although the core of its business is in the food industry, it also possesses know-how in area of telescopes control systems. ProjectSoft has developed and is improving own system for the visualisation of technological processes, that was successfully installed in hundreds of applications. It provides turnkey solutions as well as reconstructions and refurbishments of existing technologies or their parts. It provides a wide range of services – from automation and machinery engineering services, through electrical power distribution systems manufacturing, to IT services.
What would you name as main benefits of the project to you and your company?
Project manager Tomáš Turek: “We realized several control systems for telescopes in past, but it had to be admitted that this project was the most complicated so far. We had to develop many new procedures and algorithms for very precise control together with safety procedures for the telescope. We have also sorted out plenty of limitations and faultinesses that telescope had in the past. Generally speaking, implementation of project moved us forward in our know-how, so that we will be able to solve more complicated tasks in the future. But it is actually more or less a standardised way of working in our company – any new project brings new challenges.”