NASA 1999 SBIR Phase I


 

PROPOSAL NUMBER 99-1 12.04-1105 (Chron: 991708 )

PROJECT TITLE

A Cloud Particle Imager for Balloons and Remotely Piloted Aircraft


TECHNICAL ABSTRACT (LIMIT 200 WORDS)

The Earth Observing System (EOS), a constellation of satellites that will observe clouds from space, needs reliable in situ measurements of cloud drops and ice particles for validation of remote retrieval algorithms. Current aircraft cloud particle measurements do not give good statistical data sets when compared to satellite overpasses. A new instrument, the cloud particle imager (CPI), previously developed under the SBIR program by SPEC, is now providing unique, high-resolution airborne digital images of cloud particles. A CPI that is configured for long-term measurements from a tethered balloon, or remotely piloted aircraft (RPA), such as the newly acquired NASA Proteus, can provide valid statistical comparisons. In Phase I, we will design a miniaturized, stand-alone CPI that can be operated for extended periods on a tethered balloon or an RPA. The balloon tether is heated so it can remain free of ice and stay aloft in clouds for days. In Phase II, we will build and test the miniature, stand-alone CPI on a research aircraft, RPA (if the NASA Proteus is available) and on the tethered balloon.


POTENTIAL COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS

A miniaturized, stand-alone CPI will be used to make unattended measurements from research aircraft and at the surface in the Arctic and Antarctic. The CPI is unique in its ability to distinguish small ice particles from supercooled cloud and drizzle drops and may eventually be essential for FAA certification, which will represent a substantial commercial market. The stand-alone CPI can be used to monitor and automatically control oil-fueled power plants, providing temendous fuel savings. Other industrial applications include particle measurement of combustible fuels, engine exhaust, paint, agricultural and snow making sprays.


NAME AND ADDRESS OF PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (Name, Organization Name, Mail Address,

City/State/Zip)

R. Paul Lawson

SPEC Incorporated

5401 Western Ave. Suite B

Boulder , CO 80301 - 2730


NAME AND ADDRESS OF OFFEROR (Firm Name, Mail Address, City/State/Zip)

SPEC Incorporated

5401 Western Ave. Suite B

Boulder , CO 80301 - 2730