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Tracking Instrumentation and Accuracy on the Eastern Test Range

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2 Author(s)
L. E. Mertens ; RCA Missile Test Project, Patrick Air Force Base, Fla. ; R. H. Tabeling

The Air Force Eastern Test Range (ETR) is, in essence, a huge laboratory extending from the Florida mainland to the Indian Ocean. It is instrumented to collect, record, analyze and communicate data for missile and space missions. This is achieved through a variety of highly sophisticated electronic and optical techniques. It is the purpose of this paper to describe briefly some of this primary instrumentation which provides the highly precise metric data used in direct support of the operational mission, for Range safety and for postflight evaluation. The instrumentation and data accuracy problems will be explored together with the current methods of approach. General categories of errors will be defined, and the applications of error models and error budgets to the controlling of instrumentation accuracies will be presented. Methods of combining outputs of various instrumentation systems will be discussed with reference to the best estimate of trajectory. The general problem of instrumentation calibration is also considered, including the experimental design and the type of tests employed. The basic causes of accuracy degradation in the instrumentation systems are reviewed, including errors introduced in data handling and processing.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Space Electronics and Telemetry  (Volume:SET-11 ,  Issue: 1 )