TSC, as subcontractor to Metric Systems Corporation, developed the Message Processor (MP) II for the Advanced Range Data System (ARDS) Data Link Ground System (DLGS). The Message Processor was re-designed to improve system instability due to network synchronization problems experienced at the various test ranges. The new MPII added GPS timing at each ground station synchronizing the start of frame to GPS 1 pps. This eliminated the range communications link from the critical timing path and greatly stabilized system timing. The MPII was designed with a more robust real-time operating system virtually eliminating system failures in high message load conditions. In addition, an improved uplink slot allocation algorithm was implemented allowing the uplink of periodic messages at rates above 20 Hz. An improved user display provides more detailed information on system performance and health. The MPII utilizes 100% COTS hardware and industry standard interfaces to greatly extend the life cycle of the system. The MPII is a standard PC-based rack-mount computer running Lynux Work LynxOS.
As a follow on effort, TSC developed a COTS based solution to the range telemetry network called the FreeNet. The FreeNet is a radio network constructed using off the shelf radios approved for range use and commercially available processors. As with the ARDS system, it is composed of two segments, a ground segment and participant. The ground segment is called the FreeNet to MPII Interface Unit (FMIU). This assembly connects to the ARDS standard MPII and relays messages back and forth to the participant. The FreeNet Participant (FNP) resides in the vehicle platform and conveys telemetry information to the FMIU over the air. The basic system components are shown below.