Bozeman, MT, United States
Bozeman, MT, United States
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Grant
Agency: Department of Energy | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 205.52K | Year: 2016

Quantitative measurements of water in all phases are important to the modeling and understanding of clouds. In-situ measurements within the clouds are particularly important to obtain, but the in-situ measurement instrumentation has been too large and heavy to deploy on any platforms except manned aircraft, leading to high experiment costs and reduced observation opportunities. A cloud characterization sensor system which could be deployed on small aerial platforms such as balloons, blimps, kites, or small unmanned aircraft systems would enable such measurements to be undertaken in more cost-effective and widespread manners. A group of simple, inexpensive, standalone sensors will be developed that can quantify the liquid water content, supercooled liquid water content, and ice water content of clouds. These simple sensors will then be ruggedized and integrated into a comprehensive package for deployment on small aerial platforms for the complete characterization of all cloud types including mixed-phase clouds. In Phase I, new sensors for liquid water content and ice water content will be developed to go along with an existing supercooled liquid water content sensor. Key technologies that will enable these sensors to operate for extended periods of time will be developed and bench-tested. Preliminary calibrations will be completed for the new sensors. Summary for Members of Congress: Inexpensive and small sensors are needed to characterize clouds in support of atmospheric and climate research. A group of sensors which measure cloud water content and can be flown on disposable balloons or on reusable unmanned aircraft systems will be developed. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits: The new sensors, in both their standalone and integrated suite versions, will enable new research measurements to be collected and will also reduce the cost of obtaining measurements presently obtained with manned aircraft, thereby reducing the costs of scientific measurement campaigns. Lower costs will also enable more campaigns to be conducted on fixed budgets. Additional applications for the sensors will have benefits for infrastructure maintenance and agriculture.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 124.98K | Year: 2013

Icing is a significant aviation hazard, and icing conditions continue to be difficult to precisely forecast or locate in real time. An in-situ sensor, which can be flown coupled with a radiosonde, is needed which can both measure supercooled liquid water content in clouds as well as characterize the droplet sizes. This sensor will support the calibration and validation of remote-sensing methods used to detect icing conditions, and can also be used on its own to support operational meteorology applications.Anasphere, Inc. proposes to develop a sizing supercooled liquid water content (SSLWC) sonde which will meet this need. It will be based on proven vibrating-wire technology which has been used for total water content measurements, but with an altogether different physical implementation that will enable droplet sizing.Phase I will involve the aerodynamic design of the SSLWC sonde, icing tunnel tests demonstrating key elements of its function, and a live flight test to gather information on the sonde's aerodynamic characteristics. Phase II will involve further tunnel tests, laboratory calibration development, design for manufacturability, and flight tests in icing conditions.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 749.92K | Year: 2014

Icing is one of the most significant hazards to aircraft. A sizing supercooled liquid water content (SSLWC) sonde is being developed to meet a directly related need for in-situ measurements of both total supercooled liquid water content and droplet size distribution. This data will support the development of remote sensing instrumentation to detect icing conditions, support aircraft certification activities for flight into known icing conditions, and support the development of new icing-related operational weather forecast products. Phase I demonstrated the feasibility of the SSLWC sonde's measurement technique. The sonde airframe was designed, built, and tested, mathematical models relating the sonde's raw data to the target variables were completed, a data processing algorithm was developed and implemented, and a proof-of-concept sonde was built. Phase II will involve refining the sonde design, adapting the mathematical algorithms into their final application environments, conducting additional studies of sonde elements in an icing wind tunnel, and undertaking two field missions to obtain intercomparison data between the SSLWC sonde and other accepted approaches to such measurements. At the end of Phase II, the SSLWC sonde will be proven to the point that it can be marketed with confidence for the application areas outlined above.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.57K | Year: 2011

A small, modular dropsonde launcher is being developed for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Some critical measurement needs can only be satisfied by in-situ measurements. Key examples of such measurements include detailed atmospheric profiles, point meteorological conditions on the surface, and in-situ measurements for calibration and validation of remote sensing systems.Phase I work saw the design and fabrication of a new type of dropsonde with a novel form factor and the associated launcher. The system was installed in a representative UAV nose. System components were successfully tested.Phase II will involve finalizing the launcher and dropsonde designs, developing the associated control and data handling system, building and testing the integrated system, and finally conducting test flights on a UAV.The ultimate result of the project will be a dropsonde system that can be fitted to many NASA UAVs, including small UAVs, and enable them to gather in-situ atmospheric profiles and surface measurements using dropsondes.The Phase II entry TRL is 5; the expected exit TRL is 8.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.95K | Year: 2011

Icing is one of the most significant hazards to aircraft. There is still much research to be completed with regard to developing remote-sensing technologies for accurately identifying where icing conditions exist in clouds. There is a need to provide in-situ measurements of cloud liquid water content to validate the remote measurements.Anasphere, Inc. proposes to develop a modernized version of the classic vibrating wire cloud liquid water content sensor. This modernized version will apply updated technology to the measurement, and more importantly will add a droplet sizing capability that the original versions of these sensors lacked. It will be designed to be compatible with a wide variety of radiosondes.Phase I will see the development and laboratory testing of the improved probe, its incorporation into a droplet sizing system, and finally actual test flights into clouds. Phase II work will involve developing more precise calibration methods, improving manufacturability, and extensive test flights.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.96K | Year: 2011

Flux measurements of trace gases and other quantities, such as latent heat, are of great importance in scientific field research. One typical flux measurement setup involves placing measurement equipment (sonic anemometers and associated sensors or samplers) on rigid towers (rigidity being required to provide a stable platform for the sonic anemometers). These towers are relatively immobile, and cannot be readily moved nor installed in remote locations. This prevents fluxes or vertical profiles of trace species from being measured in many remote areas.Anasphere will develop a tethersonde system which will allow flux measurements to be made using tethered blimps or kites. The tethersonde modules will incorporate a three-dimensional sonic anemometer plus motion-correction sensors so that the motion of the tether and module may be removed from the wind measured by the sonic anemometer. The result will be a highly mobile flux tower.In Phase I, a proof-of-concept tethersonde module will be built and tested which incorporates a three-dimensional sonic anemometer and motion-correction sensors. It will be tested in flight. Phase II work will see the refinement of the modules and sensor algorithms, as well as extensive field tests.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.91K | Year: 2011

Dropsondes are one of the primary in-situ measurement tools available to research aircraft and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). Unlike sensors mounted on aircraft, dropsondes allow a vertical profile of the atmosphere to be taken below the aircraft. A guided dropsonde which could glide away from the launch aircraft will allow profiles to be taken away from the aircraft flight path, and would offer aircraft the ability to deploy dropsondes into dangerous environments, such as thunderstorms and volcanic plumes, where few aircraft are able to safely venture.Anasphere, Inc., in cooperation with Vanilla Aircraft, Inc., proposes to develop a guided dropsonde to meet this need. This dropsonde will be designed as a lifting body. It will build upon an existing miniature dropsonde developed by Anasphere, have essentially no moving parts, retain the ability to return wind profiles along with accurate meteorological data, and have sufficient speed to penetrate moderate headwinds.Phase I work will include designing and prototyping the aerodynamic form, integrating essential guidance electronics, and conducting extensive glide tests. Phase II work will include the integration of complete sensor, guidance, and communications payloads, refinement of the aerodynamic form, and extensive live flight tests from high altitude.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Air Force | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 149.84K | Year: 2012

ABSTRACT: Accurate, in-situ meteorological data are an essential part of any flight-test program or airborne weapon test. Present methods to gather such data are subject to drawbacks including spatial inaccuracy, asset availability, and simple inefficiency. An in-situ radiosonde system capable of deployment from nearly any military aircraft would solve this problem, by allowing for the spatially precise deployment of sensors in the test airspace without placing any undue burden on other range assets or requiring additional flight time from the test aircraft. The proposed solution is centered on the MALRD (Miniature Air Launched Rawinsonde and Dropsonde). This device will be compatible with common countermeasures dispensing systems and be capable of operation as either a dropsonde or upsonde (rawinsonde). It will measure meteorological variables including pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and winds, and return the data to either aircraft- or ground-based receivers. Phase I work will involve developing designs for upsonde, dropsonde, and combined variants of the MALRD. Key enabling technologies will be tested in the laboratory. Phase II work will involve building MALRD prototypes and conducting live flight tests. BENEFIT: The market need being addressed by this technology is the need to obtain meteorological data at a precise point in space and time. An aircraft-deployable sonde can be precisely deployed unlike any other in-situ sensor. The MALRD will have applications in both test and operational scenarios for all branches of the military. Derivatives of the MALRD may be deployed from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, rockets, artillery shells, or other precision delivery methods. A radiosonde derived from the MALRD could be used as a ruggedized radiosonde for surface launches as well.


Grant
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.97K | Year: 2010

Long-duration balloon flights are an exciting new area of scientific ballooning, enabled by the development of large super-pressure balloons. As these balloons represent a new form of balloon technology, it follows that there is much to be learned about how these balloons behave in flight. There is a need to collect data on the balloon platform itself in order to better characterize its in-flight behavior. A lightweight suite of sensors will be developed to quantify several variables affecting the balloon. The measurements will include gas temperature inside and outside of the balloon, balloon film strain and temperature, and the aging of the balloon film. Phase I will involve developing a gas temperature sensing approach, a film strain and aging sensing approach, and an alternate approach to film strain and temperature measurements. Taken as a group, the approaches to be investigated are seen as likely to offer promising solutions to those measurement challenges. They will be tested in the laboratory and in a balloon on the ground. The ultimate result of the project will be a sensor suite that allows super-pressure balloon behavior and flights to be accurately modeled.


Grant
Agency: Department of Defense | Branch: Missile Defense Agency | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.98K | Year: 2013

Atmospheric refractive index fluctuations directly impact the propagation of laser beams through the atmosphere. A key parameter of interest to be directly acquired or derived from atmospheric measurements is the refractive index structure parameter CN2. Atmospheric refractive index, and therefore CN2, can theoretically be derived as a function of temperature, humidity, and pressure measurements, but there are significant problems associated with such an approach. To better meet the measurement needs, a suite of three sondes will be developed: a new type of thermosonde, a refractive index sonde, and a full-featured sonde that incorporates those functions plus other meteorological measurements. The former two sondes will return high-speed data that can be used to compute CN2 and the related parameter CT2, respectively. The full-featured sonde will return all of that data plus other relevant meteorological and optical parameters. Data from these sondes will be integrated with atmospheric models to enable forecasts of these parameters and to support the development of decision-making aids based on the models. In Phase I, the new thermosonde will be developed and demonstrated, the other two sondes will be designed, and suitable forecast models will be identified for use with the sonde data.

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