NASA SBIR 2014 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 14-1 S3.04-9132
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies
PROPOSAL TITLE: A Dropsonde UAV for Atmospheric Sensing in a Turbulent Environment

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Barron Associates, Inc.
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David A Neal
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215

CORPORATE/BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Connie R Hoover
1410 Sachem Place, Suite 202
Charlottesville, VA 22901 - 2496
(434) 973-1215 Extension :119

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

Technology Available (TAV) Subtopics
Unmanned Aircraft and Sounding Rocket Technologies is a Technology Available (TAV) subtopic that includes NASA Intellectual Property (IP). Do you plan to use the NASA IP under the award?

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)
Dropsondes are one of the primary atmospheric measurement tools available to researchers. Current dropsondes are deployed with a free fall parachute trajectory, allowing no flight path control and requiring the deployment aircraft to fly close to the target. Adding an extended, guided range capability to the dropsonde will allow much greater mission flexibility by providing significant geographic and temporal coverage of areas of interest. Barron Associates, Inc. will accomplish this through an innovative winged dropsonde that launches from a regular dropsonde launch tube, and deploys wing and tail control surfaces, and a propeller, starts the engine, and executes the mission under horizontal, powered flight. The Phase I vehicle will focus on avionics and sensor integration, vehicle prototyping and flight testing of a long-endurance version of the vehicle. The vehicle will be equipped with a pressure, temperature and humidity sensor and a wind sensor which is extended out the front of the vehicle to allow accurate measurement. The vehicle will also be equipped with gas sensors, a custom autopilot board and a long-range telemetry system. High-turbulence operation is highly desirable and a portion of the Phase I effort will go towards researching the vehicle configuration and software enhancements necessary to support operations in a highly turbulent environment. The end result of the Phase I will be a flight tested, long-endurance, guided dropsonde vehicle, and a feasible Phase II plan for enhancing the vehicle to support high-turbulent operations, allowing use for hurricane, volcanic plume, and wildfire atmospheric science.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
The powered, guided, long endurance dropsonde will have immediate application as an enhancement to current dropsonde missions, providing extended geographical coverage of several hundred miles, and endurance of 5-7 hrs. Applications include polar and oceanographic atmospheric science, satellite calibration/validation and airborne hazard sensing. NASA's Discover-AQ program is an example of a program that could benefit from the availability of a low-cost, guided, dropsonde system. The low per-unit cost also makes the system suitable for use in other atmospheric sensing projects, such as aircraft fume detection, and ozone level measurements. In a low to moderate turbulence environment, path planning will be possible for a wide range of desirable trajectories, including loitering in a single location to examine temporal variations, flying a grid pattern for dense geographical resolution and flying a long-range trajectory to maximize the geographical coverage. High-turbulence capability developed in Phase II will further enhance the applications, enabling gas and ash sensing in volcanic plumes, and atmospheric science in and around hurricanes. As the vehicle will be capability of being guided to a recovery zone, the potential exists to replace the standard sensors with a sample collection device, and return volcanic plume ash samples, or other particulate samples of interest to the recovery area for ground analysis.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)
Barron Associates' Wingsonde has significant applicability to other government agencies doing atmospheric research, such as NOAA/NCAR and the USAF Hurricane Hunters. NOAA has a separate SBIR to develop a plug and play sea surface temperature sensor, and if this becomes available, the Wingsonde would be an ideal delivery platform. Other applications include wildfire atmospheric science (also of interest to NOAA) and atmospheric toxic release monitoring. International agencies involved in atmospheric science using dropsondes currently, or desiring high-turbulence atmospheric sensing are potential users of the system, as well. Current users of the NCAR AVAPS system include the German space agency(DLR), AES Canada, the UK Met. Office and the National Institute for Polar Research in Japan. The high turbulence capability to be delivered at the end of Phase II will be applicable to a much wider field of users. International agencies studying both hurricanes and volcanoes will be interested in the ability of the Wingsonde to acquire atmospheric data in the extreme environmental conditions. The capability of being deployed from a tube, and potentially launched from the ground lead to a low total cost for putting the system into the field, which brings the technology within reach of universities and other small research programs, further broadening the applications.

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)
Atmospheric Propulsion
Autonomous Control (see also Control & Monitoring)
Avionics (see also Control and Monitoring)
Command & Control
Vehicles (see also Autonomous Systems)

Form Generated on 04-23-14 17:37