During space launch operations, the RF environment must be monitored 24/7 to verify that frequencies used to ensure safety are clear of unauthorized signals. Launch operations require a wide variety of mission critical communication and tracking functions including communication, telemetry, radar and other range safety systems. Keeping the frequencies required for these functions clear of interference is key to a successful launch and protecting public safety in the event of malfunction. For many RF-sensitive (and very expensive) payloads, it is also important to monitor and record the RF environment at payload processing facilities to identify transmissions that could be powerful enough to damage sensitive instruments. Damaging signal levels, if undetected, can lead to in-orbit failures.
An RFeye network, including a mixture of RFeye Nodes and DF arrays is currently in operation at a major US space center. This system provides 24/7 spectrum monitoring as well as emitter geolocation using Angle of Arrival (AOA) and Time Difference of Arrival (TDOA) methods. This capability ensures that the RF environment is understood and constantly monitored to enhance safety and reduce the risk of events that could adversely affect mission success.
Space centers must operate in today’s complex and congested RF environment while protecting against electromagnetic interference that can pose a threat to public safety and damage sensitive and expensive payloads. It is therefore essential that all systems requiring use of the RF spectrum are protected and interference promptly recognized and mitigated.
RFeye Nodes and DF Arrays were installed to provide 24/7 monitoring of the RF spectrum for automatic detection of interference, alarming and geolocation of interference sources. RFeye Site software can be used to view the RF spectrum in real-time including the ability to geolocate multiple co-channel signals simultaneously for interference cases.
The installed RFeye network provides 24/7 monitoring of the electromagnetic environment around the space launch complex. Interfering signals can be instantly identified, analyzed, located and mitigated to ensure continued safe and effective operations on the site.