NASA SBIR 2018-II Solicitation

Proposal Summary

 18-2- S3.05-2693
 Terrestrial Balloons and Planetary Aerial Vehicles
 Dynamic Soaring for Persistent Venus Upper Atmosphere Observations
SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Black Swift Technologies, LLC
3200 Valmont Road, Suite 7
Boulder, CO 80301
(720) 638-9656

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Jack Elston
3200 Valmont Rd Ste 7
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2137
(720) 933-4503

BUSINESS OFFICIAL (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Dr. Jack Elston
3200 Valmont Rd Ste 7
Boulder, CO 80301 - 2137
(720) 933-4503

Estimated Technology Readiness Level (TRL) :
Begin: 3
End: 5
Technical Abstract (Limit 2000 characters, approximately 200 words)

Although a large majority of the proposed systems for upper atmospheric observation of Venus have consisted of either dirigibles or solar-powered heavier than air vehicles, both suffer from their own particular drawbacks and neither deal effectively with the high wind speeds. This work proposes a solution based on dynamic soaring, a proven method to extract energy from atmospheric wind shear that has propelled the fastest small-scale aircraft in the world, and provided the energy necessary for long-endurance low-level flights of birds across oceans. A deployable unmanned aircraft system (UAS) is proposed to not only survive in the harsh wind environment of Venus, but also simultaneously perform targeted sampling of the atmosphere while continuously extracting energy, even during the night. The design will be based on proven dynamic soaring platforms, but will be constructed in such a manner that allows for deployment from a standard aeroshell. Additionally, materials selection and construction methods  will be finalized that ensure long-term survival in the corrosive cloud-top environment. The proposed system is small enough to allow up to eight aircraft to be deployed, or a smaller number can be used as secondary payloads for other primary vehicles such as a balloon or dirigible vehicles. 

Potential NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Beyond the obvious NASA application of a mission to Venus there are some other uses of the technologies developed here that will garner interest in other NASA missions. The three main pieces that will have wider interest is the autonomous dynamic soaring, the compact deployable aircraft, and survivability in toxic air. These capabilities will be applicable on Earth for hurricane sampling UAS missions, severe storm sampling, and measurement of volcanic plumes.

Potential Non-NASA Applications (Limit 1500 characters, approximately 150 words)

Agencies beyond NASA would greatly benefit from a system that harvests energy through dynamic soaring and provides lengthy observations above ridge lines and severe convective storms.  NOAA would benefit from such a platform for hurricane observations and fire weather observations. The USGS would receive valuable data from a platform able to provide lengthy observations of volcanic emissions.


Form Generated on 05/13/2019 13:33:28