This paper introduces the novel concept of using a GSM network for command of and communications with multiple aerial delivery systems. The research prototype of such a system, Snowflake-N, allows communicating with other network clients via a commercial Blackberry Curve 8310 handheld over a Bluetooth connection. A new architecture allows reassigning targets and sending other relevant commands (via web interface, by voice, data, or text messages) to an onboard autopilot, which is within a network reach, from any place in the world. Similarly, a current position of the descending system and target assignment can be viewed from any computer connected to the Internet worldwide using a standard Google Earth viewer. The networking capability also allows uplinking the latest weather data measured by a portable target weather station, being a part of a network as well, and therefore drastically improving an accuracy of a payload delivery. The paper extends the previous work by the authors and introduces the current state of the Snowflake-N development. It presents a C2 concept for the aerial delivery systems, talks about communication protocols, presents the hardware set-up, components and results of recent drops. The paper ends with conclusions and recommendations for further development.
Posted with AIAA permission. Originally presented at the 20th AIAA Aerodynamic Decelerator Systems Technology Conference, Seattle, WA, AIAA-2009-3004, 2009.
Bourakov, Eugene A.; Yakimenko, Oleg A.; and Slegers, Nathan, "Exploiting a GSM Network for Precise Payload Delivery" (2009). Faculty Publications - Department of Mechanical and Civil Engineering. 51.