The pointing accuracy of the NASA Deep Space Network antennas is significantly impacted by the unevenness of the antenna azimuth track. The track unevenness causes repeatable antenna rotations, and repeatable pointing errors. The paper presents the improvement of the pointing accuracy of the antennas by implementing the track-level-compensation look-up table. The table consists of three axis rotations of the alidade as a function of the azimuth position. The paper presents the development of the table, based on the measurements of the inclinometer tilts, processing the measurement data, and determination of the three-axis alidade rotations from the tilt data. It also presents the determination of the elevation and cross-elevation errors of the antenna as a function of the alidade rotations. The pointing accuracy of the antenna with and without a table was measured using various radio beam pointing techniques. The pointing error decreased when the table was used, from 7.5 mdeg to 1.2 mdeg in elevation, and from 20.4 mdeg to 2.2 mdeg in cross-elevation.
The paper presents the analysis results (in terms of settling time, bandwidth, and servo error in wind disturbances) of four control systems designed for the Large Millimeter Telescope (LMT). The first system, called PP, consists of the proportional and integral (PI) controllers in the rate and position loops, and is widely used in the antenna and radiotelesope industry. The analysis shows that the PP control system performance is remarkably good when compared to similar control systems applied to typical antennas. This performance is achieved because the LMT structure is exceptionally rigid, however, it does not meet the stringent LMT pointing requirements. The second system, called PL, consists of the PI controller in the rate loop, and the Linear-Quadratic-Gaussian (LQG) controller in the position loop. This type of controller is implemented in the NASA Deep Space Network antennas, where pointing accuracy is twice that of PP control system. The third system, called LP, consists of the LQG controller in the rate loop, and the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller in the position loop. This type of loop has not been yet implemented at known antennas or radiotelescopes, but the analysis shows that its pointing accuracy is the ten times better than PP control system. The fourth system, called LL, consists of the LQG controller in both the rate loop, and the position loop. It is the best of the four, with accuracy 250 better than the PP system, thus is worth further investigations, to identify implementation challenges for the telescopes of high pointing requirements.