Astronomy

Control of unmanned aircraft

Control of unmanned aircraft

Since the first satellite was launched into space until today, communication systems have been perfected. The control of unmanned aircraft is clear evidence of this. At present, these systems are not only used to control artificial satellites, but also for spy and attack aircraft such as the Drones.

A VANT or Drone, an aircraft that flies without a human crew on board, is also known as UAV by acronym in English (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), or unmanned aerial system, UAS (Unmanned Aerial System).

Unmanned aircraft have several video cameras that are multiplexed in order to transmit images that are received at the ground control station. These signals are captured by an antenna that is oriented in the direction of the plane's location. For this purpose an autotracking system is used that redirects the antenna automatically, although an operator must always be at a computer to manually orient the antenna if necessary.

To command and follow the plane, the ground base receives positioning information from the GPS (Global Positioning System) or SPG (Global Positioning System) on board the UAV. The automatic system uses this information to calculate the angles and elevation necessary to point towards the vehicle, using a servomotor system orients the antenna to be able to receive the data that comes from the vehicle and have it control at the same time.

Unmanned or robotic spacecraft are those that do not have humans on board and are usually under telerobotic control (Remote Robot Control). A typical case of them are space probes. Many space missions are more appropriate for telerobics than for manned operations because of their cost and risk. Planetary destinations such as Venus or Jupiter are too hostile for human survival and planets such as Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are too distant to reach them with current manned spaceflight technology, so telerobotic probes are the only way to explore them.

Many artificial satellites are robotic spacecraft, just as many are landers and rovers, all of them are controlled from a base on Earth.

Voyager 1, more than 40 years in space and still communicates with Earth.

Earth-space communication systems have allowed ships such as Voyager 1, launched on September 5, 1977 from Cape Canaveral, to remain operational today. The first probe to reach the interstellar space was first and still keeps sending photos and data, which it collects in its path, although its communication system is much more primitive than the current ones.

Another curious fact refers to how are the communications and control of ships between Mars and Earth. The Curiosity communicates with the ground base through three main communications antennas that are located at the back which serve to send and receive data directly to us and communicate with the Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance vehicles that are in orbit around the planet Mars .

One of the Curiosity antennas operates in the 400 MHz UHF band, used only for short range and is used to establish links with orbital vehicles. The other two antennas are long-range and communicate directly with the antennas of the Deep Space Network (DSN), an international network of antennas located throughout the globe that provide communications links between scientists and the different space missions in the Land in order to maintain a more effective control system.

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Space-to-Earth communication