Stratospheric Payload Test Bed Development, 16-9297Printer Friendly Version
Inclusive Dates: 02/04/02 - Current
Background - Stratospheric platforms provide potential advantages over satellites. These advantages include lower price, station-keeping ability at lower altitudes, and rapid deployment. Previous development has achieved limited success in placing sensors and communications in the stratosphere. The Institute's Buoyant Stratospheric Vehicle (BSV) program is currently in need of a payload flight test method that is fast, low cost, and allows easy payload recovery. This research project was funded to produce a prototype test bed vehicle.
Approach - The current project efforts utilize a weather balloon launch method with release of the flight vehicle by the onboard navigation system at a selected altitude. The flight vehicle is a two-meter wingspan glider having rudder and elevator control surfaces. The onboard flight control and navigation systems include a GPS receiver, a flight speed sensor, a yaw rate gyro, a navigation computer, and a radio-frequency modem. The ground control and recovery system consists of a laptop computer with map displays, operator control functions, data-logging capability, and a joystick control box for landing. The payload for this early phase consists of wideband radio communications, temperature measurements and flight dynamics measurements.
Accomplishments - During this project, the following tasks have been accomplished: