End-to-end data acquisition solutions for aerospace testing

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Safran Data Systems, formerly Zodiac Data Systems, provides end-to-end solutions for airborne and ground testing. The company can develop, manufacture and install instrumentation and data systems for many different types of applications and environments including fixed, mobile, or shipborne testing with aircraft, helicopters, flying taxis, missiles, launch vehicles, space vehicles, supersonics and unmanned aerial vehicles.

Safran Data Systems can provide dedicated assistance for any aerospace platform manufacturer: in addition to the offering of a complete COTS-based and tailored end-to-end instrumentation system, close support and expertise will be delivered to the Flight Test teams prior to and throughout the whole test campaigns. The company has developed standard-driven COTS bricks for its end-to-end solution. The XMA is a field-proven modular Data Acquisition Unit (DAU) designed to perform signal conditioning as well as to acquire, process and stream synchronized data with high timing accuracy. Various levels of ruggedization and 2 x 3in stackable modules enable installation in many different types of environments. The variety of modules available allows the acquisition of any type of signal coming from analog or digital sensors, serial interfaces and avionic buses. Coupled with the MDR recorder, switches and transmitters, the compound versatility sets a new standard in terms of flexibility while keeping field-proven top-quality metrology performance.

Combining Ethernet and IRIG 106 Ch7, these bricks are fully network telemetry compliant and able to handle synchronous and asynchronous data using the same dataflow from air to ground with basically no impact on existing infrastructure. With the capability to handle various data formats in a monolithic topology, the Safran Data Systems on-board instrumentation’s integration into existing FTI architectures is seamless. It supports standard and specific legacy data output formats (IENA, DAR, Ch4, Ch10…) and follows the latest IRIG106 standards: Ch7, Ch25 (TmNS). In addition to these core competencies, Safran Data Systems now offers suitable sensors, cameras and cables made to specification.

The company is also integrating new technologies in its solutions. The end-to-end solution is being enhanced with wireless (Bluetooth, wi-fi, UWB) and the footprint of equipment is getting smaller. Reducing intrusiveness and power consumption is crucial, especially with smaller platforms like UCAS or air taxis.

A full end-to-end system requires a telemetry downlink and ground stations. Safran Data Systems has developed its own portfolio of ground station solutions based on various sizes of multi-band antennas suited for any vehicle under tests. A ground station also includes receivers RTR and RX-1, RF/ IF- and baseband-recorders and various tools enabling data processing, real-time visualization, post-processing and replay. The company has more than 40 years of experience in providing complete fixed, mobile or shipborne stations with antennas reaching diameters of up to 11m as well as integrated mobile stations.

Above all, the flight test engineer’s experience is enhanced with a single process for the whole system’s management. The eZ Software Suite enables an easier configuration, calibration and monitoring of the system with wizards, auto-setups and productivity tools, while auto-detection eases architecture changes. eZ offers data processing, data analysis, and import/export capabilities to interface with third-party software. Live monitoring is made available both on-board and at ground stations.

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