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Lighter-than-Air Systems

The Lighter-than-Air (LTA) Systems engineers perform design, analysis, development, and testing of LTA autonomous vehicles for military and scientific applications. This includes terrestrial high altitude airships, balloons, aerostats, and planetary LTA vehicles. The engineering team also provides design, fabrication, and integration of high pressure hydraulic and gas systems for industrial and aerospace applications.

William D. Perry, Acting Section Manager

HiSentinel 80 Long Endurance Stratospheric Airship Inflation test was conducted in the AlamoDome.

LTA Capabilities

   Design Capabilities

  • Complete balloon systems
  • Complete high-altitude airship systems
  • Super-pressure hull designs
  • Thermal and stress analysis
  • Command and control electronics
  • Sensors
  • Telemetry systems
  • Communication systems
  • Tracking systems
    • GPS
    • ARGOS
  • Precision inflation systems
  • Ballast and venting systems
  • Energy storage systems
  • Solar arrays
  • Power management

  • Autonomous navigation
  • Airship propulsion systems
  • Termination and recovery systems
  • Ground stations and data display
  • Antenna pointing systems

   Fabrication Capabilities

  • SwRI-procured
    • Super pressure balloons
    • High-altitude airship hulls
    • Recovery parachute systems
  • SwRI fabrication
    • Electronic subsystems
    • Ballast subsystems
    • Venting systems
    • Communications systems
    • Solar arrays
    • Energy storage
    • Propulsion system
  • Integrate compete balloons and airships

  Testing Capability

  • Subsystem testing
    • Functional
    • Thermal altitude
    • Load
    • Electro-magnetic compatibility (EMC)
    • Shock and vibration
  • Integrated testing
    • System level functional
    • Communications
    • Autonomous navigation
    • Flight termination systems
  • Flight test
    • Launch and ascent
    • Pressures and temperatures
    • Venting
    • Ballast
    • Communications
    • Energy generation and storage
    • Autonomous navigation
    • Propulsion
    • Flight termination
    • Recovery

Sentinel in the Sky

Division Publications

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February 27, 2014