NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation

FORM B - PROPOSAL SUMMARY


PROPOSAL NUMBER:03-E1.03-9561 (For NASA Use Only - Chron: 033444)
SUBTOPIC TITLE:In Situ Sensors
PROPOSAL TITLE:Cloud Micro-sensors for Applications on Small UAVs and Balloons

SMALL BUSINESS CONCERN (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Spec Inc
3022 Sterling Circle, Suite 200
Boulder ,CO 80301 - 2377
(303) 449 - 1105

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
Paul   Lawson
plawson@specinc.com
3022 Sterling Circle, Suite 200
Boulder ,CO  80301 -2377
(303) 449 - 1105
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)
One of the key areas of study of NASA?s Earth Observing System (EOS), a constellation of satellites equipped to remotely measure the earth's surface and atmospheric properties, is the role played by clouds and aerosols in climate change. However, these remote measurements of the size, shape and concentration of cloud and aerosol particles are determined by mathematical inversion of (passive and active) radiative signatures from distances of 700 km. Thus in situ validation of cloud and aerosol properties is essential. The duration of conventional research aircraft is limited, restricting the usefulness of validation measurements. Small uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) and tethered balloons, however, are now capable of making sustained, long-term measurements, so that data sets can be collected that provide much better statistical comparisons with results from satellite retrieval algorithms. In Phase I, we investigate the feasibility of adapting three existing sensors, a hot-wire liquid water content probe, a particle scattering spectrometer probe, and a cloud particle imager (CPI), for use on small UAVs and tethered balloons. In each case, new, innovative technologies are used to drastically reduce the power and weight of these sensors. The sensors are targeted for application on the Aerosonde UAV, small tethered balloons, (untethered) radiosonde balloons and dropsondes. In Phase II, we plan to build prototypes of the candidate sensors, and flight-test them on a motor glider and on tethered balloons.

POTENTIAL NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The Aerosonde UAV and tethered balloons have been used for atmospheric investigations ranging from polar regions to the tropics. The potential exists for several hundreds or thousands of Aerosondes and tethered balloons being equipped to measure cloud properties on a global scale. All three of the proposed micro-sensors will be inexpensive to produce in quantity. The largest commercial market is installation of micro-sensors on operational radiosondes. More than 1200 radiosondes are launched daily. This equates to 438,000 launches yearly. In addition to the atmospheric science community, relatively low-cost micro-sensors could find several applications in industry, including measurements of agricultural and painting sprays.

POTENTIAL NON-NASA COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS (LIMIT 150 WORDS)
The Aerosonde UAV and tethered balloons have been used for atmospheric investigations ranging from polar regions to the tropics. The potential exists for several hundreds or thousands of Aerosondes and tethered balloons being equipped to measure cloud properties on a global scale. All three of the proposed micro-sensors will be inexpensive to produce in quantity. The largest commercial market is installation of micro-sensors on operational radiosondes. More than 1200 radiosondes are launched daily. This equates to 438,000 launches yearly. In addition to the atmospheric science community, relatively low-cost micro-sensors could find several applications in industry, including measurements of agricultural and painting sprays.