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Special Issue "Selected papers from the 2019 IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for AeroSpace"

A special issue of Sensors (ISSN 1424-8220). This special issue belongs to the section "Physical Sensors".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (18 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pasquale Daponte
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Engineering, University of Sannio, Benevento, Italy
Interests: ADC and DAC modeling and testing; digital signal processing; distributed measurement systems; aerial photogrammetry; unmanned aerial systems (UASs); automatic test equipment for UASs
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Eulalia Balestrieri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

2019 IEEE International Workshop on Metrology for AeroSpace (MetroAeroSpace) (http://www.metroaerospace.org/home) will be held in Torino, Italy, 19–21 June 2019. Authors of papers related to Sensors presented at the Workshop are invited to submit extended versions of their work to the Special Issue for publication.

This new edition will keep pursuing the state of the art and practice started over the past years.
Attention is paid, but not limited to, new technology for metrology-assisted production in aerospace industry, aircraft component measurement, sensors and associated signal conditioning for aerospace, and calibration methods for electronic test and measurement for aerospace.
The program is designed to raise the interest of a wide group of researchers, operators and decision-makers from metrology and aerospace fields, by presenting the most innovative solutions in this field from the scientific and technological point of view.

Topics:

  • Electronic instrumentation for aerospace
  • Automatic test equipment for aerospace
  • Sensors and sensor systems for aerospace applications
  • Wireless sensor networks in aerospace
  • Attitude and heading reference systems
  • Monitoring systems in aerospace
  • Metrology for navigation and precise positioning
  • Sensors and Data Fusion Techniques for Avionics and Air Traffic Management
  • Flight Testing Instrumentation and Flight Test Techniques

Important Dates:

  • December 15, 2018 - Special Session Proposal
  • January 20, 2019 - Extended Abstract Submission Deadline
  • March 20, 2019 - Notification of Acceptance
  • May 1, 2019 - Final Paper Submission Deadline

Prof. Dr. Pasquale Daponte
Dr. Eulalia Balestrieri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sensors is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (14 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
“MicroMED” Optical Particle Counter: From Design to Flight Model
Sensors 2020, 20(3), 611; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20030611 - 22 Jan 2020
Abstract
MicroMED (Micro Martian Environmental Dust Systematic Analyzer (MEDUSA)) instrument was selected for the ExoMars 2020 mission to study the airborne dust on the red planet through in situ measurements of the size distribution and concentration. This characterization has never been done before and [...] Read more.
MicroMED (Micro Martian Environmental Dust Systematic Analyzer (MEDUSA)) instrument was selected for the ExoMars 2020 mission to study the airborne dust on the red planet through in situ measurements of the size distribution and concentration. This characterization has never been done before and would have a strong impact on the understanding of Martian climate and Aeolian processes on Mars. The MicroMED is an optical particle counter that exploits the measured intensity of light scattered by dust particles when crossing a collimated laser beam. The measurement technique is well established for laboratory and ground applications but in order to be mounted on the Dust Suite payload within the framework of ExoMars 2020 mission, the instrument must be compatible with harsh mechanical and thermal environments and the tight mass budget of the mission payload. This work summarizes the thermo-mechanical design of the instrument, the manufacturing of the flight model and its successful qualification in expected thermal and mechanical environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Improving Depth Resolution of Ultrasonic Phased Array Imaging to Inspect Aerospace Composite Structures
Sensors 2020, 20(2), 559; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020559 - 20 Jan 2020
Abstract
In this paper, we present challenges and achievements in development and use of a compact ultrasonic Phased Array (PA) module with signal processing and imaging technology for autonomous non-destructive evaluation of composite aerospace structures. We analyse two different sets of ultrasonic scan data, [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present challenges and achievements in development and use of a compact ultrasonic Phased Array (PA) module with signal processing and imaging technology for autonomous non-destructive evaluation of composite aerospace structures. We analyse two different sets of ultrasonic scan data, acquired from 5 MHz and 10 MHz PA transducers. Although higher frequency transducers promise higher axial (depth) resolution in PA imaging, we face several signal processing challenges to detect defects in composite specimens at 10 MHz. One of the challenges is the presence of multiple echoes at the boundary of the composite layers called structural noise. Here, we propose a wavelet transform-based algorithm that is able to detect and characterize defects (depth, size, and shape in 3D plots). This algorithm uses a smart thresholding technique based on the extracted statistical mean and standard deviation of the structural noise. Finally, we use the proposed algorithm to detect and characterize defects in a standard calibration specimen and validate the results by comparing to the designed depth information. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Magnetometer Calibration for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Using Cooperative Flight Data
Sensors 2020, 20(2), 538; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020538 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
This paper presents a new method to improve the accuracy in the heading angle estimate provided by low-cost magnetometers on board of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This task can be achieved by estimating the systematic error produced by the magnetic fields generated [...] Read more.
This paper presents a new method to improve the accuracy in the heading angle estimate provided by low-cost magnetometers on board of small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). This task can be achieved by estimating the systematic error produced by the magnetic fields generated by onboard electric equipment. To this aim, calibration data must be collected in flight when, for instance, the level of thrust provided by the electric engines (and, consequently, the associated magnetic disturbance) is the same as the one occurring during nominal flight operations. The UAV whose magnetometers need to be calibrated (chief) must be able to detect and track a cooperative vehicle (deputy) using a visual camera, while flying under nominal GNSS coverage to enable relative positioning. The magnetic biases’ determination problem can be formulated as a system of non-linear equations by exploiting the acquired visual and GNSS data. The calibration can be carried out either off-line, using the data collected in flight (as done in this paper), or directly on board, i.e., in real time. Clearly, in the latter case, the two UAVs should rely on a communication link to exchange navigation data. Performance assessment is carried out by conducting multiple experimental flight tests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Characterization of Back-Scattering and Multipath in a Suburban Area after the Calibration of an X-Band Commercial Radar
Sensors 2020, 20(2), 463; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020463 - 14 Jan 2020
Abstract
The increasing interest in the radar detection of low-elevation and small-size targets in complicated ground environments (such as urban, suburban, and mixed country areas) calls for a precise quantification of the radar detection capabilities in those areas. Hence, a set of procedures is [...] Read more.
The increasing interest in the radar detection of low-elevation and small-size targets in complicated ground environments (such as urban, suburban, and mixed country areas) calls for a precise quantification of the radar detection capabilities in those areas. Hence, a set of procedures is devised and tested, both theoretically and experimentally, using a commercial X-band radar, to (i) calibrate the radar sensor (with an online evaluation of its losses) using standard scatterers, (ii) measure the multipath effect and compensate for it, and (iii) create “true radar cross section” maps of the area of interest for both point and distributed clutter. The above methods and the related field results are aimed at future qualification procedures and practical usage of small, cheap, and easily moveable radars for the detection of low-observable air targets, such as unmanned air vehicles/systems (UAV/UAS), in difficult ground areas. A significant set of experimental results as discussed in the paper confirms the great relevance of multipath in ground-based radar detection, with the need for correcting measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Attitude Sensor from Ellipsoid Observations: A Numerical and Experimental Validation
Sensors 2020, 20(2), 433; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20020433 - 13 Jan 2020
Abstract
The preliminary design and validation of a novel, high accuracy horizon-sensor for small satellites is presented, which is based on the theory of attitude determination from ellipsoid observations. The concept consists of a multi-head infrared sensor capturing images of the Earth limb. By [...] Read more.
The preliminary design and validation of a novel, high accuracy horizon-sensor for small satellites is presented, which is based on the theory of attitude determination from ellipsoid observations. The concept consists of a multi-head infrared sensor capturing images of the Earth limb. By fitting an ellipse to the imaged limb arcs, and exploiting some analytical results available from projective geometry, a closed form solution for computing the attitude matrix is provided. The algorithm is developed in a dimensionless framework, requiring the knowledge of the shape of the imaged target, but not of its size. As a result, the solution is less sensitive to the limb shift caused by the atmospheric own radiance. To evaluate the performance of the proposed method, a numerical simulator is developed, which generates images captured in low Earth orbit, including also the presence of the atmosphere. In addition, experimental validation is provided due to a dedicated testbed, making use of a miniature infrared camera. Results show that our sensor concept returns rms errors of few hundredths of a degree or less in determining the local nadir direction. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Determining Wheel Forces and Moments on Aircraft Landing Gear with a Dynamometer Sensor
Sensors 2020, 20(1), 227; https://doi.org/10.3390/s20010227 - 31 Dec 2019
Abstract
This paper describes airfield measurement of forces and moments that act on a landing gear wheel. For the measurement, a wheel force sensor was used. The sensor was designed and built based on strain gage technology and was embedded in the left landing [...] Read more.
This paper describes airfield measurement of forces and moments that act on a landing gear wheel. For the measurement, a wheel force sensor was used. The sensor was designed and built based on strain gage technology and was embedded in the left landing gear wheel of a test aircraft. The sensor is capable of measuring simultaneously three perpendicular forces and three moments and sends data to a handheld device wirelessly. For the airfield tests, the sensor was installed on a PZL 104 Wilga 35A multipurpose aircraft. The aircraft was towed at a “marching man” speed and the measurements were performed at three driving modes: Free rolling, braking, and turning. The paper contains results obtained in the field measurements performed on a grassy runway of the Rzeszów Jasionka Aerodrome, Poland. Rolling resistance of aircraft tire, braking friction, as well as aligning moment were analyzed and discussed with respect to surface conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring the Risk of the Electric Component Imposed on a Pilot During Light Aircraft Operations in a High-Frequency Electromagnetic Field
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5537; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245537 - 14 Dec 2019
Abstract
High-frequency electromagnetic fields can have a negative effect on both the human body and electronic devices. The devices and systems utilized in radio communications constitute the most numerous sources of electromagnetic fields. The following research investigates values of the electric component of electromagnetic [...] Read more.
High-frequency electromagnetic fields can have a negative effect on both the human body and electronic devices. The devices and systems utilized in radio communications constitute the most numerous sources of electromagnetic fields. The following research investigates values of the electric component of electromagnetic field intensification determined with the ESM 140 dosimeter during the flights of four aircrafts—Cessna C152, Cessna C172, Aero AT3 R100, and Robinson R44 Raven helicopter—from the airport in Depultycze Krolewskie near Chelm, Poland. The point of reference for the obtained results were the normative limits of the electromagnetic field that can affect a pilot in the course of a flight. The maximum value registered by the dosimeter was E = 3.307 V/m for GSM 1800 frequencies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Application of GNSS/INS and an Optical Sensor for Determining Airplane Takeoff and Landing Performance on a Grassy Airfield
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5492; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245492 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
The performance of a PZL 104 Wilga 35A airplane was determined and analyzed in this work. Takeoff and landing distances were determined by means of two different methods: one which utilized a Global Navigation Satellite System/Inertial Navigation System (GNSS/INS) sensor and another in [...] Read more.
The performance of a PZL 104 Wilga 35A airplane was determined and analyzed in this work. Takeoff and landing distances were determined by means of two different methods: one which utilized a Global Navigation Satellite System/Inertial Navigation System (GNSS/INS) sensor and another in which airplane ground speed was measured with the use of an optical non-contact sensor. Based on the airfield measurements, takeoff and landing distances as well as rolling resistance coefficients were determined for the used airplane on a grassy runway at the Radawiec airfield, located near Lublin, southeast Poland. The study was part of the “GARFIELD” project that is expected to deliver an online information system on grassy airfield conditions. It was concluded that both sensors were suitable for the aimed research. The results obtained in this study showed the effects of high grass upon the takeoff and landing performances of the test airplane. Also, the two methods were compared against each other, and the final results were compared to calculations of ground distances by means of the chosen analytical models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Secondary Radar Beacons for Local Ad-Hoc Autonomous Robot Localization Systems
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5484; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245484 - 12 Dec 2019
Abstract
In this paper, we present a detailed analysis and implementation of secondary radar beacons designed for a local ad-hoc localization and landing system (LAOLa) to support the navigation of autonomous ground and aerial vehicles. We discuss a switched linear feedback network as a [...] Read more.
In this paper, we present a detailed analysis and implementation of secondary radar beacons designed for a local ad-hoc localization and landing system (LAOLa) to support the navigation of autonomous ground and aerial vehicles. We discuss a switched linear feedback network as a virtually coherent oscillator and show how to use it as a secondary radar transponder. Further, we present a signal model for the beat signal of the transponder response in an FMCW radar system, which is more detailed than in previously published papers. An actual transponder realization in the 24 GHz ISM band is presented. Its RF performance was evaluated both in the laboratory and in the field. Finally, we put forward some ideas on how to overcome the range measurement inaccuracy inherent in this transponder concept. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Radiolocation Devices for Detection and Tracking Small High-Speed Ballistic Objects—Features, Applications, and Methods of Tests
Sensors 2019, 19(24), 5362; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19245362 - 05 Dec 2019
Abstract
This article describes radiolocation devices dedicated to the detection and tracking of small high-speed ballistic objects and multifunctional radars. This functionality is implemented by applying space search technology and adaptive algorithms for detection and tracking of air objects in parallel with classic search [...] Read more.
This article describes radiolocation devices dedicated to the detection and tracking of small high-speed ballistic objects and multifunctional radars. This functionality is implemented by applying space search technology and adaptive algorithms for detection and tracking of air objects in parallel with classic search and tracking of objects in controlled airspace. This article presents examples of the construction of both types of devices produced by foreign companies and Polish industry. The following sections present methods for testing radars with the function of tracking small high-speed ballistic objects along with examples of results of observations of combat ammunition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Preliminary Design of a Model-Free Synthetic Sensor for Aerodynamic Angle Estimation for Commercial Aviation
Sensors 2019, 19(23), 5133; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19235133 - 23 Nov 2019
Abstract
Heterogeneity of the small aircraft category (e.g., small air transport (SAT), urban air mobility (UAM), unmanned aircraft system (UAS)), modern avionic solution (e.g., fly-by-wire (FBW)) and reduced aircraft (A/C) size require more compact, integrated, digital and modular air data system (ADS) able to [...] Read more.
Heterogeneity of the small aircraft category (e.g., small air transport (SAT), urban air mobility (UAM), unmanned aircraft system (UAS)), modern avionic solution (e.g., fly-by-wire (FBW)) and reduced aircraft (A/C) size require more compact, integrated, digital and modular air data system (ADS) able to measure data from the external environment. The MIDAS project, funded in the frame of the Clean Sky 2 program, aims to satisfy those recent requirements with an ADS certified for commercial applications. The main pillar lays on a smart fusion between COTS solutions and analytical sensors (patented technology) for the identification of the aerodynamic angles. The identification involves both flight dynamic relationships and data-driven state observer(s) based on neural techniques, which are deterministic once the training is completed. As this project will bring analytical sensors on board of civil aircraft as part of a redundant system for the very first time, design activities documented in this work have a particular focus on airworthiness certification aspects. At this maturity level, simulated data are used, real flight test data will be used in the next stages. Data collection is described both for the training and test aspects. Training maneuvers are defined aiming to excite all dynamic modes, whereas test maneuvers are collected aiming to validate results independently from the training set and all autopilot configurations. Results demonstrate that an alternate solution is possible enabling significant savings in terms of computational effort and lines of codes but they show, at the same time, that a better training strategy may be beneficial to cope with the new neural network architecture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Design and CFD Analysis of the Fluid Dynamic Sampling System of the “MicroMED” Optical Particle Counter
Sensors 2019, 19(22), 5037; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19225037 - 19 Nov 2019
Abstract
MicroMED is an optical particle counter that will be part of the ExoMars 2020 mission. Its goal is to provide the first ever in situ measurements of both size distribution and concentration of airborne Martian dust. The instrument samples Martian air, and it [...] Read more.
MicroMED is an optical particle counter that will be part of the ExoMars 2020 mission. Its goal is to provide the first ever in situ measurements of both size distribution and concentration of airborne Martian dust. The instrument samples Martian air, and it is based on an optical system that illuminates the sucked fluid by means of a collimated laser beam and detects embedded dust particles through their scattered light. By analyzing the scattered light profile, it is possible to obtain information about the dust grain size and speed. To do that, MicroMED’s fluid dynamic design should allow dust grains to cross the laser-illuminated sensing volume. The instrument’s Elegant Breadboard was previously developed and tested, and Computational Fluid Dynamic (CFD) analysis enabled determining its criticalities. The present work describes how the design criticalities were solved by means of a CFD simulation campaign. At the same time, it was possible to experimentally validate the results of the analysis. The updated design was then implemented to MicroMED’s Flight Model. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Complete EGSE Solution for the SpaceWire and SpaceFibre Protocol Based on the PXI Industry Standard
Sensors 2019, 19(22), 5013; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19225013 - 16 Nov 2019
Abstract
This article presents a complete test equipment for the promising on-board serial high-speed SpaceFibre protocol, published by the European Committee for Space Standardization. SpaceFibre and SpaceWire are standard communication protocols for the latest technology sensor devices intended for on-board satellites and spacecrafts in [...] Read more.
This article presents a complete test equipment for the promising on-board serial high-speed SpaceFibre protocol, published by the European Committee for Space Standardization. SpaceFibre and SpaceWire are standard communication protocols for the latest technology sensor devices intended for on-board satellites and spacecrafts in general, especially for sensors based on image acquisition, such as scanning radiometers or star-tracking devices. The new design aims to provide the enabling tools to the scientific community and the space industry in order to promote the adoption of open standards in space on-board communications for current- and future-generation spacecraft missions. It is the first instrument expressly designed for LabVIEW users, and it offers tools and advanced features for the test and development of new SpaceFibre devices. In addition, it supports the previous SpaceWire standard and cross-communications. Thanks to novel cutting-edge design methods, the system complex architecture can be implemented on natively supported LabVIEW programmable devices. The presented system is highly customizable in terms of interface support and is provided with a companion LabVIEW application and LabVIEW Application Programming Interface (API) for user custom automated test-chains. It offers real-time capabilities and supports data rates up to 6.25 Gbps.The proposed solutions is then fairly compared with other currently available SpaceFibre test equipment. Its comprehensiveness and modularity make it suitable for either on-board device developments or spacecraft system integrations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improved Multi-GNSS PPP Software for Upgrading the DEMETRA Project Time Monitoring Service
Sensors 2019, 19(20), 4389; https://doi.org/10.3390/s19204389 - 11 Oct 2019
Abstract
The H2020 DEMETRA project provides short latency clock monitoring services to the time users using the Atomium precise point positioning (PPP) software developed by the Royal Observatory of Belgium. In this paper, three recent updates of the current Atomium software are introduced: adding [...] Read more.
The H2020 DEMETRA project provides short latency clock monitoring services to the time users using the Atomium precise point positioning (PPP) software developed by the Royal Observatory of Belgium. In this paper, three recent updates of the current Atomium software are introduced: adding Galileo signals in the PPP computation; the option to constrain the receiver clock; PPP with integer ambiguity resolution. The advantages of these updates are demonstrated: Combining the Galileo and global positioning system (GPS) signals for PPP time transfer will further improve the frequency stability inside the computation batch; PPP with receiver clock constraint is not only used to reduce the short-term noise of the clock measurements but can also be used for some specific applications to a keep continuous clock solution in the computation batch or retrieve correct clock measurements from extremely noisy environments; the integer PPP allows a continuous clock solution, and improves the mid-term and long-term stability of the frequency transfer compared to the current PPP frequency transfer techniques. Full article
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