The GlideSonde: A Lifting Body Guided Dropsonde
Dropsondes are one of the primary in-situ measurement tools available to research aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Unlike sensors mounted on aircraft, dropsondes allow a vertical profile of the atmosphere to be taken below the aircraft. A guided dropsonde which could glide away from the launch aircraft will allow profiles to be taken away from the aircraft flight path, and would offer aircraft the ability to deploy dropsondes into dangerous environments, such as thunderstorms and volcanic plumes, where few aircraft are able to safely venture.Anasphere, Inc., in cooperation with Vanilla Aircraft, Inc., proposes to develop a guided dropsonde to meet this need. This dropsonde will be designed as a lifting body. It will build upon an existing miniature dropsonde developed by Anasphere, have essentially no moving parts, retain the ability to return wind profiles along with accurate meteorological data, and have sufficient speed to penetrate moderate headwinds.Phase I work will include designing and prototyping the aerodynamic form, integrating essential guidance electronics, and conducting extensive glide tests. Phase II work will include the integration of complete sensor, guidance, and communications payloads, refinement of the aerodynamic form, and extensive live flight tests from high altitude.
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