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A Ruggedized UAS for Scientific Data Gathering in Harsh Environments, Phase II

Active Technology Project

Project Introduction

Black Swift Technologies proposes the development of the SuperSwift XT, a novel small Unmanned Aircraft System that meets the sensing needs required for responding to or monitoring volcanic ash clouds. This tightly integrated system will consist of an airframe, avionics, and sensors specifically designed to measure selected gases and atmospheric properties. It is based on the commercial SuperSwift airframe and SwiftCore Flight Management System, which have been proven in the field to provide a cost-effective, powerful, and easy-to-operate solution to meet the demanding requirements of nomadic scientific field campaigns. The airframe capabilities will be expanded to achieve high altitude flights through strong winds and damaging airborne particulates. The SuperSwift's well-documented power and data interfaces will be employed to integrate the sensors required for the measurement of atmospheric volcanic phenomenon that will have broader applications for atmospheric research. The atmospheric models that are employed by dispersion studies provide information that can affect human safety. Examples not only include volcanic ash aviation hazards, but pollution alerts, toxic releases, dust storms and wildfire smoke hazards that often depend on the accuracy of these models. Accurate data input from the location as well model validation are needed for these important safety systems. Even basic atmospheric conditions such as wind and temperature are estimated or modeled from nearest weather stations that could be far from the location of interest and at limited elevations. Ground systems, manned aircraft, balloons and even dropsondes supply this data but have limitations. Satellites such as ASTER, MODIS, AIRS and OMI are invaluable but can still suffer from infrequent coverage, cloud masking and limits in resolution. The SuperSwift XT will be designed to collect data in harsh environments and will enhance the performance and utility of NASA's Airborne Science fleet More »

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Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

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