European Space Agency

Objectives

The SC1000 Field Terminal project has the objective to improve the satellite based narrowband data services for mobile and static applications. By addressing both the high-end and the medium-end trucks market, a new terminal is built with lower power consumption, full remote configuration and monitoring capabilities, L- and S-band support and new features (e.g. the fast after theft position notification). The base station and the “over the air protocols” are also redesigned to support the new SC1000 terminal and services.

The service architecture is depicted in the following picture.


click for larger image

The SC1000 Field terminal collects data from external sensors and the GPS satellites. The data is formatted and send to the Land Earth Station (L.E.S.) through a leased L- or S-band satellite link.

In the L.E.S. all data packages are decoded, filtered and transferred to the Spacechecker Datacenter.

The Datacenter stores the data packages in a central database and forwards data to the billing servers, back office applications and customer defined destinations.

Challenges

The key issues of the previous generation of terminals were the terminal cost, the power consumption and the remote accessibility. All of the issues are addressed in the SC1000 project as reflected by the features of the new terminal/system.

Benefits

The cost of the terminal and the operational costs are lower than the previous generation terminal and system. That together with the extra features and lower power consumption opens the path to additional markets for the product.

Features

Below one can find a description of the most important features that were added to the existing SpaceChecker system by this project.

As an extension of the end-user applications, the Fast after theft position notification has been added to the system. Both base station and terminal implemented this feature, which puts the terminal in a fast position notification interval (up to four positions a minute) after a theft alert has been detected.

The new field terminal has many advantages compared to his predecessor.

Lower field terminal price
The cost reduction is obtained by a complete redesign of the terminal hardware. The new production cost is 30% cheaper than the previous field terminal.

Improved power consumption
In addition, lower power consumption achieved by new hardware and the redesign of over the air protocol results in larger battery autonomy. The battery autonomy is now up to 45 days. This is an improvement of 50% in comparison with the previous product. In the hardware, RF and baseband parts of the terminal are redesigned for a power-efficient system. In software, the over the air protocol is redesigned using time slot scheduling techniques and an extensive time slot management system. This way the receiver will only be “on” at over the air programmed recurring segments of time.

Field Application Interface
The terminal consists of a modem part and field application interface part. The function of the field application interface is to manage all sensor derived data and translate this into formatted data and new SC1000 modem instructions. In addition, the FAI provides a versatile approach to enable customizable software. An open-source development environment is available which allows for third parties to write their own application for the FAI without any costs.

Remote configuration of all field terminals
The base station and field terminal include new over the air programming techniques. This allows remotely changing or adding user parameters of the Field Application Interface in the terminal and network information like frequencies, reporting interval.

Remote monitoring of field terminals (Back Office Monitoring Tool)
A ‘Dashboard’ software package is available

  • Network status monitoring (ground segment / field terminal / ICT segment),
  • Individual field terminal analyses.(Signal strength, Bit error rate).

Larger system capacity
The total standard message size is shortened from 20 to 10 bytes. A slot based system is used in function of the reverse channel speeds. The modulation scheme supports BPSK and QPSK. Airtime usage can be remotely rescheduled for any terminal, which allows optimization of airtime usage.

Access to L-band and S-band satellites
A new S-band patch antenna and L-band patch antenna is available. The RF part in the terminal is full dual mode, remotely and seamlessly reconfigurable for both L-band and S-band. These features enable the terminal to operate on a various number of satellites.

Plan

Milestone Completion Date
Negotiation Meeting / Kick-Off: PDR - Prior work April 08
MR1: Critical Design Review Jan 09
MR2: Deployment Acceptance Review May 09
Field Terminal hw certification and acceptance of production dossier Sept 09
Pilot Phase: The pilot activities executed with fifty terminals “on the road” and ad-hoc daily test sessions have shown a consistent improvement of the overall service performances in terms of SW&HW maintenance. Sept 10
MR3: Final Review Nov 10

Current status

The project was successfully completed  in November 2010.

Status date

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 - 13:50