UAVOS Inc. and Stratodynamics Aviation Inc., have successfully completed the next stage of flights tests of the earth observation platform called the HiDRON to an altitude of 25 km (82,000 ft). The HiDRON also carried atmospheric measurement system onboard, in a collaboration with researchers from the University of Kentucky. The night-time flight lasted
4 hours, including the one-hour weather balloon launch period with an average climb rate at 6.8 m/s (22 ft./s). At release altitude, the HiDRON was 36 km (22 mi.) away from the launch site where it headed home and was above launch area at an altitude of 18 km (59,000 ft.). The HiDRON then glided near the home position with a
about 3 hours
According to the mission team, the HiDRON stratospheric aircraft performed well in standard operational modes and in challenging BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line Of Sight) conditions. It operated in headwinds up to 180 km/h (112 mph), -60° C (-76° F) temperatures, experienced wing icing and reliably returned home and landed autonomously.
The HiDRON’s flight stabilization after balloon release and tuning the UAV controls and components for stratospheric flight were
The HiDRON’s payload collected meteorological data and the atmospheric instruments were integrated with the autopilot telemetry and the sensors custom fitted to the aircraft. Data
Aliaksei Stratsilatau, UAVOS Lead developer:
“We also undertook studies of the descending wind stream structure in the stratosphere to increase the duration of the HiDRON flight. In addition, our specialists developed a control and tracking system for an unmanned aircraft in real conditions within commercial air traffic space, which confirms the project’s readiness for commercial use.”
The high-altitude flight was conducted in collaboration with the regional Air Traffic Control Agency. The night-time flight was preferred to minimize impact on commercial air traffic. The HiDRON passed through commercial airspace twice, on the ascent and descent, and an adjustment to civilian aircraft routes was made during flight window. A backup UAVOS live-linked ground station and operator were stationed at the Air Traffic Control
Gary Pundsack, Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. Founder CEO:
“The HiDRON performed well in challenging winter winds and night conditions. At the 25km launch altitude, the HiDRON travelled 36 km from home. The return glide was controlled and, at an altitude of 18 km, the
The HiDRON, a joint project of UAVOS Inc. and Stratodynamics Aviation Inc., is a
All operational parameters are transmitted via radio telemetry with a range of 100 km (66 mi.).
An iridium satellite link provides a back-up communication system. Other safety features include a deployable parachute and a dual redundant balloon release system.
Marcelo Guzman and Travis Schuyler, University of Kentucky, Researchers
“A project goal is to better understand meteorological and weather forecasting models by measuring atmospheric conditions during high-altitude aerial vehicle flights, and we are very excited to share the data collected using the HiDRON with the Scientific community,” commented Marcelo Guzman. Travis Schuyler added, “This is the first time that this kind of atmospheric-sensing equipment has been integrated into a balloon-launched, unmanned glider and the results will enable the evolution of new UAV technology and in-situ observation methodologies.”
About UAVOS Inc.
UAVOS Inc., headquartered in Mountain View, CA, has recently raised a round of financing from a group of private investors, in order to further enhance its R&D efforts, reduce the go-to-market time for new solutions and also focus on promotion and commercialization.
About STRATODYNAMICS AVIATION Inc.
Stratodynamics provides high-altitude earth observation platforms and services. Platforms are unmanned stratospheric gliders to carry in-situ measurement instruments. In addition to operating our platforms, services include instrument integration, campaign coordination, and data collection and assessment. For more information please visit: Stratodynamics