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PulsarPlane: Worldwide Air Transport Operations

Objective

Pulsars are fast rotating neutron stars that emit electromagnetic radiation, which is received on earth as a series of very stable fast periodic pulses with periods in between 1.4 milliseconds and 8.5 seconds. These periodic pulses and the known positions (in celestial coordinates) of the neutron stars make them ideal beacons for navigation.
Air traffic management and aircraft operations are currently dependent on the use of ground-based navigation systems. Still, many areas on earth are not equipped with this kind of infrastructure. In oceanic flights and isolated areas, aircraft fly procedural tracks assisted by inertial navigation and/or GPS. as no ground equipment is available to guide them along their tracks.
We propose a new navigation system, based on the signals received from pulsars. Pulsar navigation enables a means of navigation without the need for ground-based or space-based equipment.
If pulsar navigation is feasible, at least 5 advantages are identified for aviation

1 Overcome GNSS vulnerabilities
2 Reducing operational cost of air transport
3 Contribute to greener transport by enabling secure formation flying of commercial airplanes in oceanic and remote areas
4 improve flexibility and accessibility of air transport
5 Contribute to a common reference time frame for aviation

The objective of this study to investigate the feasibility of pulsar navigation for aviation, and if found positive, to analyse the impact on aviation and to identify and develop (sections of) the path towards a useable real-time navigation and timing system.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport/transport planning/air traffic management
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport/navigation systems
  • /natural sciences/physical sciences/astronomy/stellar astronomy/neutron star
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport
  • /social sciences/social and economic geography/transport/navigation systems/satellite navigation system/global navigation satellite system
  • /engineering and technology/mechanical engineering/vehicle engineering/aerospace engineering/aircraft

Call for proposal

FP7-AAT-2012-RTD-L0
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

CP-FP - Small or medium-scale focused research project

Coordinator

STICHTING NATIONAAL LUCHT- EN RUIMTEVAARTLABORATORIUM
Address
Anthony Fokkerweg 2
1059CM Amsterdam
Netherlands
Activity type
Research Organisations
EU contribution
€ 212 750
Administrative Contact
Henk Harm Hesselink (Mr.)

Participants (5)

TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITEIT DELFT
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 141 024
Address
Stevinweg 1
2628 CN Delft
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Martin Hoekstra (Mr.)
AALTO KORKEAKOULUSAATIO SR
Finland
EU contribution
€ 33 558
Address
Otakaari 1
02150 Espoo
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Martti Hallikainen (Prof.)
INESC ID - INSTITUTO DE ENGENHARIADE SISTEMAS E COMPUTADORES, INVESTIGACAO E DESENVOLVIMENTO EM LISBOA
Portugal
EU contribution
€ 101 200
Address
Rua Alves Redol 9
1000 029 Lisboa
Activity type
Research Organisations
Administrative Contact
Ilda Ribeiro (Mrs.)
SOFIA UNIVERSITY ST KLIMENT OHRIDSKI
Bulgaria
EU contribution
€ 87 120
Address
Bul Tzar Osvoboditel 15
1504 Sofia
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Bojil Dobrev (Mr.)
UNIVERSITEIT TWENTE
Netherlands
EU contribution
€ 21 000
Address
Drienerlolaan 5
7522 NB Enschede
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Mark Bentum (Dr.)