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Small Business Innovation Research/Small Business Tech Transfer

The StratoCruiser Propulsive Long Endurance Balloon Gondola

Completed Technology Project

Project Description

The StratoCruiser Propulsive Long Endurance Balloon Gondola Project Image
New measurement technologies are required to support science campaigns to better quantify rapid loss of permanent floating ice volume in the Arctic Ocean, accelerating loss of the Greenland glacial system, recurring drought conditions in the U. S. continental interior, and increasing frequency and intensity of severe storms in both coastal zones and in the nation's central corridor. While balloon measurements offer persistence and relative low cost when compared to aircraft systems, they lack the ability to reposition, station-keep, or navigate along or across observed gradients. Similarly, aircraft offer the ability to target regional phenomenon, reposition, and navigate to areas of interest but are costly to operate and lack the persistence of balloons. The StratoCruiser balloon gondola concept offers unprecedented mobility and the reel-down payload support for executing unique in-situ studies of large-scale convective events. Combining the persistence of balloon platforms, the vertical measurements of soundings, and the mobility of aircraft the StratoCruiser will enable new understanding of stratospheric phenomenon. The StratoCruiser carries the unique Harvard–designed reel-down payload and winch system. The winch allows the suspended payload to be lowered from a vehicle at rates of 5-10 m/s up to a distance of 10 km. These soundings provide in situ detection of radicals, isotopes, ozone, reactive intermediates, long-lived tracers and condensed and vapor phase H2O and HDO. More »

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