NASA SBIR 2010 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 10-1 S3.09-8972
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: Expendable Guided Dropsonde

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Latitude Engineering
340 South Convent Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701 - 2215
(520) 792-2006

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Jason Douglas
340 South Convent Ave
Tucson, AZ 85701 - 2215
(520) 792-2006

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) at beginning and end of contract:
Begin: 3
End: 6

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Given the constraints associated with current airborne host platforms, a technological solution is needed for efficiently obtaining meteorological data at targeted locations and altitudes. A combination of using manned and unmanned aircraft with guided dropsondes is a promising and achievable path forward for meeting this need. Guided dropsondes have significant implications to advance research in nearly all scientific disciplines requiring in situ atmospheric measurements. Compared to conventional free-fall dropsondes that rely on parachutes, guided dropsondes could offer speed controlled descents combined with loiter abilities. This can potentially yield time averaged data for a particular region—a feature not currently available with current dropsonde technology. The guided dropsonde's ability to move to targeted areas of interest gains sensors an unprecedented level of access to extreme areas and events. Being able to move to a designated area will also offer the potential to retrieve the guided dropsonde, giving it the capability to become an in situ sampler. For volcanic eruptions or pollution studies, this can become a powerful new tool where few options, if any, currently exist.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Dropsondes have been employed to assist in validation of satellite data such as the NASA GloPac mission including measurements for the Aura earth-monitoring satellite. The proposed guided dropsonde system would provide increased utility in this type of application. Guided dropsondes could also be developed to have capabilities such as formation flying, opening even more research opportunity.
The proposed design would be compatible with AVAPS systems currently used on NASA's P-3 and Global Hawk aircraft but versatile enough to be used with other platforms including balloon drops. Unmanned systems have numerous applications for research in polar regions where NASA balloon-based and airborne research is active.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Applications beyond NASA include national and international universities, research institutes and government organizations involved in the full range of atmospheric and meteorological studies.
All research and non-research groups that currently use dropsondes in their programs are potential consumers, as well as those that have interest in small UAS.
Commercial applications are numerous in such fields as agriculture, surveillance, fisheries and coastal monitoring, particularly if the guided system is recoverable and has reduced regulatory issues.
Military and homeland security are potential large-scale users of the proposed technology as it offers advantages in situational awareness and the ability to identify hazards without human risk or significant cost compared to conventional systems.

TECHNOLOGY TAXONOMY MAPPING (NASA's technology taxonomy has been developed by the SBIR-STTR program to disseminate awareness of proposed and awarded R/R&D in the agency. It is a listing of over 100 technologies, sorted into broad categories, of interest to NASA.)
Algorithms/Control Software & Systems (see also Autonomous Systems)
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Data Acquisition (see also Sensors)
Maneuvering/Stationkeeping/Attitude Control Devices
Models & Simulations (see also Testing & Evaluation)
Navigation & Guidance
Recovery (see also Autonomous Systems)
Robotics (see also Control & Monitoring; Sensors)
Telemetry/Tracking (Cooperative/Noncooperative; see also Planetary Navigation, Tracking, & Telemetry)
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 09-03-10 12:12