A Framework for Designing and Testing the Digital Signal Processing unit of a Pulsar Based Navigation System

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Navigation systems using pulsar signals have been of great interest ever since the discovery of pulsars in 1967 and various studies were carried out ever since to determine the feasibility of such systems. The successful working of a navigation system using pulsar would mean that spacecraft can maneuver through the deep space with very little help from earth. Another notable aspect of this navigation mechanism is that pulsar signals are available throughout the cosmos, so this sys- tem could be used for a wide range of orbital configurations such as Low Earth Orbits (LEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), Geosta- tionary Orbits (GEO) and Interplanetary orbits enabling a universal navigation system. In this thesis, a software framework has been developed to replicate the environmental setup for a pulsar navigation system. This frame- work can be used to design a high level system design of the pulsar signal processing unit which will be a part of the navigation system. The framework can be used to generate pulsar templates as it can process the raw data from a receiver. The generated templates will be used in the final navigation system in the stages of correlation and detection. The software framework was developed using a very novel system design approach using SystemC-AMS, which consists of C++ classes that felicitate high level system design involving analog and mixed signals. The design approach, implementation, results and limitations of this framework is also presented. Based on the conclusions derived from the framework, a road-map is provided for future development.