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Bozeman, MT, United States

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 599.66K | Year: 2008

Phase 1 has seen the development of a revolutionary new type of sensor for making carbon dioxide (CO2) measurements from small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) and other platforms such as sounding balloons. The chemistry behind the new sensor has been proven, example sensors were fabricated, and the technique has shown its immunity to many interferences (notably humidity and temperature) which affect other carbon dioxide measurement technologies. Phase 2 will involve optimizing the new sensor in terms of sensitivity and manufacturability. Several field tests will be conducted with the new sensor, including baseline atmospheric CO2 measurements as well as CO2 flux measurements. Four sensors of the final design developed in Phase 2 will be delivered to NASA for use on small UAS platforms. Anticipated results include the completed development of a revolutionary new type of CO2 sensor for atmospheric research and its demonstration in the field prior to the conclusion of Phase 2. A medical variant is expected to quickly result in part from this work as well. It is also foreseen that several sensors for other gases may be developed based on this all-new measurement technology.

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.

Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 99.78K | Year: 2010

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are assuming more numerous and increasingly important roles in global environmental and atmospheric research. There is a corresponding growth in equipment needs for UAVs so that they may meet their mission goals. 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. A scalable dropsonde launcher will be developed that will be able to fit a range of UAVs. It will be able to launch a variety of dropsondes derived from Anasphere's existing radiosonde and dropsonde families. Dropsondes for high-precision, high-density, and surface-based measurements will be developed. Phase I will involve designing a launcher that uses an existing Anasphere dropsonde and fits into a representative UAV provided by Vanilla Aircraft. The launcher will be demonstrated in the laboratory and in a high-speed airflow environment. The ultimate result of the project will be a dropsonde system that can be fitted to many NASA UAVs and enable them to gather in-situ atmospheric profiles and surface measurements using dropsondes.

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.

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.

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