CTIT University of Twente
Research Business & Innovation About CTIT Research Calls Looking for a job? Intranet

PULSARPLANE: Worldwide Air Transport Operations

Project Number: 335063 (FP7 – Transport)
Project Manager; Dr. ir. Mark Bentum
Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science
Tel.: +31-53-4892108
Email: m.j.bentum@utwente.nl

Project website: PulsarPlane


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.

Currently air traffic management and aircraft operations are 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
  4. remote areas
  5. improve flexibility and accessibility of air transport
  6. Contribute to a common reference time frame for aviation

Project duration: 1 September 2013 – 28 February 2015
Project budget: 775.3 k-€ / 596.7 k-€ funding
Number of person/months: person months
Project Coordinator: NLR - National Aerospace Laboratory (Netherlands)
Participants: NLR - National Aerospace Laboratory (Netherlands), TU Delft, Aalto University, INESC-ID, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski, UT
Project budget CTIT: k-€ / k-€ funding
Number of person/months CTIT: person months
Involved groups: Telecommunication Engineering (TE)
CTIT Research Centre:
Centre for Array Technology