NASA Glenn Research Center has issued an RFI for potential sources and partners for the design and development of a Command and Control communication (C2) system prototype for unmanned aircraft.
Even though both terrestrial and satellite based solutions are under consideration in the standards bodies, the focus of this effort is on a terrestrial system. This prototype radio hardware is being designed and developed in order to validate and verify draft performance requirements by collecting performance data in relevant laboratory and flight environments. This command C2 system prototype will be designed to operate in the 5,030 5,091MHz and/or 976 MHz bands, while following draft industry performance requirements currently under consideration in RTCA SC-203 and ASTMF38.
The intended partnership between NASA and one or more industry partners will jointly develop the design(s) to meet the requirements, develop prototype radio hardware, perform laboratory testing, and execute flight testing of the prototype radio system in relevant environment.
This prototype radio system is targeted for use in all UAS classes, from those weighing less than 55 lbs flying below 3,000 ft. up to and including those weighing greater than 1,320 lbs flying above 18,000 ft.
The primary focus is operations within the U.S. National Airspace System, but these systems should be capable of operations outside the U.S. The UAS C2 system is to support control and non-payload communications (CNPC) between the Unmanned Aircraft (UA) and the UA control station. This could include the following types of information/traffic types: tele-commands; non-payload telemetry; navaid data; ATC voice relay; ATS data relay; sense and avoid data relay; airborne weather radar data; and non-payload situational awareness video.
Interested companies are invited to submit specific information on any or all of the following topics:
1. C2 System Architecture:
Describe possible UAS C2 communication system architectures
a) Assuming both the 5030-5091 MHz (shared between satellite and terrestrial components) and 960-976 MHz (for terrestrial component only) bands are available for UAS
b) Assuming just the 5030-5091 MHz band is available (to be shared between both satellite and terrestrial components) Discussions should include topics such as: Modulation/coding/duplexing/multiple access schemes Cell size/beam size and frequency reuse considerations Co-site compatibility Multiple UA per RF ground station and handoffs between RF ground stations Security techniques
2. UAS C2 Radios:
Describe possible UAS C2 radio solutions using the 5030-5091 MHz and/or 960-976MHz bands under consideration for both aircraft and ground station applications
Describe the class(s) of UAS the radio is being targeted for Submittal
For the full RFI document click here.