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Navigation

Most unique is the capability to conduct research and tests for the most precise navigation sensors and equipments. The Warminster location was selected based on an extensive survey, which determined that this site was the most seismically and environmentally quiet spot in the continental United States and has the best bedrock. The test piers are bonded directly to the bedrock and are isolated from the rest of the building. The building was designed and constructed specifically for this function and maintains the very quiet test environment. There is no known comparable facility.

The facility incorporates the following features:

  • Circular building with geodesic domed roof to minimize the effects of the sun and wind
  • Below grade building construction for proximity to bedrock
  • Minimization and attenuation of the effects of vibration on equipment during testing:
    • Location away from vehicular traffic
    • Separate building for power, heat, and air conditioning
    • Vibration isolation mounting of all machinery
    • Vibration absorption material between building walls and footings
    • Ceilings, ducting, conduit, and pipelines supported from the roof by a vibration isolation system
  • Five research labs
    • Quiet Test Laboratory (QTL)
    • Systems Test Laboratory
    • RF/GPS Laboratory
    • MEMs Laboratory
    • Vibration Test Laboratory (VTL)

Quiet Test Laboratory (click on image for larger view)

QTL LabThis is the major laboratory within the Navigation Facility. It provides capabilities to conduct research as well as test the most precise navigation sensors and equipment. The Laboratory incorporates the following features:

  • North Star sighting windows in the pier area for precise alignment of the test tables and equipment under test
  • A seismograph that provides recorded data for monitoring seismic disturbances
  • Extremely low vibration noise: (<10-8g/Hz1/2 )
  • 12 test piers bonded directly to bedrock
  • Laboratory floor isolated from test piers to reduce noise
  • Latest state-of-the-art gyroscope and accelerometer test tables mounted on the test piers
  • Test chambers and special test equipment for investigating environmental sensitivities
  • Power backup system

System Test Laboratory

System Test LabThis laboratory provides capabilities to test navigation and other marine systems under the dynamic conditions encountered aboard ships and submarines. It incorporates the following features:

  • Ship Motion Simulator (Scorsby)
    • Payload 1,000 lbs
    • Roll, pitch, and yaw motions 1 axis at a time or all 3 axis
    • Maximum roll amplitude of 40° and pitch and heading amplitudes of 10° each
    • Variable sinusoidal periods on each axis of between 4.5 sec. - 20 sec.
    • Heading can be continuously varied between 0.2 RPM - 2.0 RPM
  • North Star Reference Benchmark
  • System Support Services
    • Chilled air
    • Chilled water
    • Various Power Sources

RF/GPS Laboratory

RF LabThe RF/GPS Laboratory supports the development, test and evaluation of current and next generation GPS receivers and Antennas. Among the equipment and instruments in the lab are:

  • GPS satellite simulator
  • Symmetricom Time standard
  • A variety of Military GPS receivers
  • A variety of Commercial GPS receivers
  • A variety of GPS antennas

Microelectric and Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Laboratory

MEMS LabThe MEMS Laboratory provides the capabilities for designing, prototyping, integrating, and conducting experimental testing of MEMS Sensors and IMU's. It is equipped with:

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) for initial chip design
  • Micromanipulator Probe Station for electrical inspection of MEMs sensors
  • Vacuum Test Stands for high vacuum testing of MEMs resonators
  • Microscopes for Examination/Diagnosis of MEMs chip designs and fabrication



Vibration Test Laboratory (VTL)

VTL LabThe Vibration Test Laboratory is used to test and to evaluate the capabilities of navigation equipment under both linear and angular vibration. The laboratory includes both a linear vibration test station and an angular vibration test station.