THESEUS: A NEW PLATFORM FOR HIGH-ALTITUDE ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE

Award Information
Agency:
National Science Foundation
Branch
n/a
Amount:
$220,000.00
Award Year:
1991
Program:
SBIR
Phase:
Phase II
Contract:
n/a
Agency Tracking Number:
11739
Solicitation Year:
n/a
Solicitation Topic Code:
n/a
Solicitation Number:
n/a
Small Business Information
Aurora Flight Sciences Corp.
1900 N Beauregard St, Suite 106, Alexandria, VA, 22311
Hubzone Owned:
N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
N
Woman Owned:
N
Duns:
n/a
Principal Investigator:
Dr John S Langford
() -
Business Contact:
() -
Research Institution:
n/a
Abstract
RECENT ADVANCES IN AERODYNAMIC, STRUCTURAL, ELECTRONIC, AND PROPULSIVE TECHNOLOGIES MAKE POSSIBLE A NEW GENERATION OF LOW-COST UNMANNED AIRCRAFT FOR ATMOSPHERIC SCIENCE RESEARCH. THE FIRST SUCH PLATFORM, DESIGNATED PERSEUS, IS ALREADY UNDER DEVELOPMENT AS A JOINT EFFORT BETWEEN AURORA FLIGHT SCIENCES AND HARVARD UNIVERSITY. PERSEUS' LITHIUM BATTERY PROPULSION SYSTEM WILL ENABLE IT TO CARRY A 50 KG CHEMICAL SAMPLING PAYLOAD TO AN ALTITUDE OF 25 KM REPEATEDLY DURING AN 8-WEEK ANTARCTIC CAMPAIGN IN 1991. THE PURPOSE OF THIS SBIR PROGRAM IS TO INITIATE DEVELOPMENT OF A LARGER, MORE VERSATILE FOLLOW-ON PLATFORM CALLED THESEUS. THE HEART OF THE PROPOSED THESEUS PLATFORM IS A SOLID POLYMER ELECTROLYTE FUEL CELL POWERING AN ELECTRICALLY DRIVEN PROPELLER. A UNIQUE OXIDATION SCHEME WILL ALLOW THESEUS TO CARRY A 450 KG PAYLOAD FOR THOUSANDS OF KILOMETERS AT AN ALTITUDE OF 20-25 KM, AND TO REACH ALTITUDES AS HIGH AS 40KM FOR BRIEF PERIODS. THE AIRCRAFT IS INTENDED TO BE OPERABLE BY A FIELD TEAM OF THREEPEOPLE AND TO BE TRANSPORTED IN A SINGLE C-130. DUE TO THE COMPLETE REUSABILITY OF BOTH THE AIRFRAME AND THE PAYLOAD/S, THESEUS WILL BE CAPABLE OF PERFORMING ALMOST ALL OF THE SCIENTIFIC MISSIONS CURRENTLY FLOWN ON LARGE BALLOONS OR THE MANNED ER-2, AT COSTS SIGNIFICANTLY LOWER THAN PRESENT. IN ADDITION, IT WILL MAKE POSSIBLE A NUMBER OF NEW MISSIONS (SOME OF WHICH ARE DESCRIBED IN THE PROPOSAL) DUE TO ITS INCREASED PERFORMANCE, PRECISE SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL CONTROLLABILITY, AND INCREASED OPERATIONAL FLEXIBILITY.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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