Technical Assessment of Satellites for CONUS Air Traffic Control, Executive Summary
January 31, 1974
A number of satellite system techniques have been suggested as candidates to provide ATC surveillance, communication, and/or navigation service over CONUS. All techniques perform postion determination by multilateration using a constellation of satellites. They can be categorized as follows: 1) Coordinated Aircraft-to-Satellite Techniques (CAST), 2) Random Access Aircraft-to-Satellite Techniques (RAST), and 3) Satellite-to-Aircraft Techniques (SAT). A technical assessment is made of the various techniques with no one particular technique emerging as superior; several feasible alternatives are identified. The assessment indicates that satellite bases techniques for CONUS ATC can be developed without relying on high risk technology. This volume summarizes the results of a technical assessment of all three techniques. The detailed assessment is presented in companion volumes. The assessment has shown that workable systems could be configured using any one of the three techniques without reliance on high risk technology. No one technique has emerged as superior. Rather several viable alternatives have been identified. All techniques appear to require more costly avionics than today's ground-based system.