NASA's planetary exploration program will benefit from this effort by having a new, compact method to sense airspeed and atmospheric conditions during atmospheric entry for navigation and scientific purposes. In addition, this compact air data sensor will be applicable to small, unmanned UAVs and aeronautics high-speed programs.
The commercial applications for this compact air/atmospheric data sensor are widespread. Such a small sensor will be usable on UAVs, commercial aircraft, and also hypersonic vehicles where protrusion into the free stream is not an option. Michigan Aerospace Corporation has extensive ground- and air-based LIDAR and optical air data systems programs, which will profit from a smaller, more rugged sensing element.