PSL at NMSU, Partners Perform Stratospheric Launch at Spaceport America
LAS CRUCES – The physical science lab at New Mexico State University has partnered with Stratodynamics and UAVOS to perform a series of stratospheric flights with HiDRON, an autonomous aircraft, at Spaceport America.
The HiDRON stratospheric glider performed a controlled flight following a dropping of a weather balloon at altitudes above 82,000 feet on June 1 and 4 and 98,000 feet on June 6.
The objectives of the mission were to advance new early detection turbulence detection systems on board aircraft at near and commercial flight altitudes. The flight campaign team included Aliaksei Stratsilatau, CEO of UAVOS, the developer and supplier of the HiDRON autopilot; Sean Bailey, Principal Investigator; Ryan Nolin, flight technician from the University of Kentucky; Qamar Shams, inventor of NASA Langley sensors; and PSL balloon launch specialists Andrew Denney and Victor Davison to help with launch logistics.
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The collaboration converged at Spaceport America to combine the new high-altitude aerial platform with a multi-hole wind probe and infrasonic microphone sensors to advance forward detection of turbulence systems. During the ascent phase, the platform captured a stunning view of New Mexico, which was recently selected as NASA’s June 17 Image of the Day.
“It was great to have the support of Henry Cathey, Andrew Denney and Victor Davison of the NMSU Physical Sciences Lab. Their vast experience allowed key balloon launch activities to be handled smoothly by their team and a contributed to the success, ”said Stratodynamics CEO Gary Pundsack.
“The PSL team was excited to participate in this pioneering launch. Our goal is to provide launch services and expertise that support advancements in research and technology. The safety of crew and research instruments remains at the forefront of our launch priorities; so is the success of our partners, ”said Denney, chief electrical engineer at PSL and principal investigator for this effort. “Building the right team is essential. In this assignment, PSL was joined by Victor Davison, a hot air balloon expert who retired from PSL after 27 years and who now owns and operates his Texas-based company, Ballooning, Rigging and Crew Chief Services.
Henry Cathey, director of the aerospace division of the NMSU’s physical science laboratory, said: “PSL’s more than 25 years of management and operation of the NASA balloon program captures a wealth of technical and personal expertise unavailable. nowhere else. The success of this important mission with Stratodynamics is testament to the region’s ability to support this type of work. Being able to collaborate with Spaceport America and use their airspace is an important regional advantage. “
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The flight campaign was supported by the NASA Flight Opportunities Program to advance turbulence detection sensors developed by the University of Kentucky and NASA’s Langley Research Center.
PSL was founded in 1946 in response to the country’s space and rocket programs. The growth of PSL’s capabilities and talents has enabled the NMSU to provide exceptional support to many scientific and technical activities across the country and around the world. Today’s domain expertise includes electronic warfare, countermeasures, cybersecurity, telemetry and missile systems, 21st century aerospace, and science balloons. PSL maintains a catalog of telemetry and antenna systems designed and built in our laboratory. In addition, custom flight equipment can be designed to meet customer needs.
Marcella Shelby writes for communications and marketing at New Mexico State University and can be reached at 575-527-7560 or by email at [email protected]