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Authors: Irene Farquhar, Ph.D.

Title: Robotic architecture for continuous communications, multi-sensor signal processing, vessel tracking, organic navigation, in-situ monitoring of MIZ, and support of operations and logistics in the arctic


We developed and demonstrated the feasibility of an autonomous architecture – ARCTIC – that will deploy the capabilities of continuous reliable communications, e-navigation and vessel tracking, accurate geodetic framework, dynamic support of operations and logistics, and in-situ ice-sea and Marginal Ice Zone research in the Arctic. ARCTIC is a distributed, dynamic network of autonomous platforms combining sonar, RF, active RFID, laser communication, and power technologies and microsatellite relay. It enables the real-time acoustic and non-acoustic signal processing (image, optic, water properties) and functions from the bottom floor, through the entire water column, on water surface, ground level, and into the atmosphere and beyond. For the global coverage, a constellation of 30 – 72 microsatellites will support real-time RF communication with intended ground- level assets. The basic system consists of a minimum of 30 microsatellites, in three 530 km, circular, polar orbits whose orbital planes are separated by 120 degrees. With 10 satellites evenly spaced, in each of 3 polar orbits, it is highly likely that at least 2 satellites will be above 5 degrees elevation at any given time. With the basic 30 satellite system, the maximum slant range to any Ground Asset will be 2140 km. The LORAN-type (eLoran) triangulation model is used for determining and dynamic maintenance of the positioning coordinates of the entire architecture and its individual components. The architecture can associate GPS geospatial coordinates with its own organic geospatial reference system. A relay of 3 – 5 microsatellites will enable the real-time communication over any localized region. The relay of microsatellites (iteratively expandable and reconfigurable) in the calculated polar orbits will remain operational for over hundred years. ARCTIC and most of its platforms will continuously transfer data at 200 Kb/s – to – 700Kb/s and, discretely, 10GB every 10 minutes using Earth-to-Space Forward Link (Ground Asset) transmit power of 20 Watts at the RF transmit frequency of 9750 MHz and Space-to-Earth Return Link (Microsatellite) transmit power of 25 Watts at the RF transmit frequency of 8600 MHz. In the short run, the proposed architecture will sustain continuous reliable communications in the region, e-navigation, and VHF data exchange system. In the long-run, the iteratively deployable dynamic network of autonomous platforms will serve multifunctional and multinational purposes of cost-effective maritime safety, Aid(s)-to-Navigation (AtoN), search and rescue, hazardous material spill response, MIZ research, and security of Arctic stakeholders and activities. ARCTIC meets requirements of providing AtoN services in Polar Regions specified by the International Association of Maritime Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities [1] and Maritime Transportation Safety information infrastructure laid out in the U.S. Committee on the Marine Transportation System document [2]. Whereas, this paper focuses on the feasibility of operational and technical requirements and the feasibility of ARCTIC to deploy the required capabilities, its companion paper - IAC-14 B5.2.5 Multi-Sensor Architecture for Dynamic Signal Processing and Global Communication – discusses the limitless scope of operational requirements that the real-time information and communication architecture will enable, work breakdown structure (WBS) of the architecture prototype, and proof-of-concept, integrated end-to-end solution for real-time acoustic signatures differentiation and mapping.