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Title: A Cost Effective Automatic Balloon Launcher

Abstract

Approximately 800,000 balloon-borne radiosondes are hand-launched each year, a cost and labor-intensive procedure. Development of a low-cost Automatic Radiosonde Launcher would allow the manual procedure to be replaced with a reliable and less expensive process. Balloon-borne radiosondes provide essential meteorological data used by forecasters and researchers around the globe. The National Weather service alone launches tens of thousands of sondes from sites across the US. Although worldwide launching of radiosondes has been done for many years, it remains a labor intensive and therefore expensive operation. Using its own funding and, more recently with the help of a Phase I SBIR grant, Visidyne, Inc. has begun investigating the feasibility of building an Automatic Radiosonde Launcher (ARL) that can be built at a cost that will be acceptable to the commercial marketplace. That work has led to the issuing of four patents covering important innovations that will allow us to meet that goal. Under the recent Phase I effort, solutions to many of the key problems have been tested in the laboratory and in real-world demonstrations in the field. The balloon filling, battery wetting, and launch release mechanisms were designed, built, and tested. A breadboard launcher was constructed and tested to provemore » feasibility of key system elements. Demonstration launches of radiosondes were performed using the breadboard launcher from the National Weather Service facility in Gray, ME, and from Hanscom AFB in Lexington, MA. The cost and size of a full scale shelter prevented us from building one during Phase I, however, we do have a design that will accomplish our goals. The Automatic Radiosonde Launcher will significantly reduce the cost of launching balloon-borne instruments. US and foreign weather services and atmospheric, climatological, and meteorological researchers will all benefit from this innovation.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Visidyne, Inc., Burlington, MA (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
US Department of Energy (US)
OSTI Identifier:
768881
DOE Contract Number:  
FG02-99ER82916
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 8 Jun 2000
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
42 ENGINEERING; DESIGN; LAUNCHING; PROBES; BALLOONS; MEASURING INSTRUMENTS; REMOTE HANDLING EQUIPMENT; AUTOMATION

Citation Formats

Berrigan J. Michael. A Cost Effective Automatic Balloon Launcher. United States: N. p., 2000. Web. doi:10.2172/768881.
Berrigan J. Michael. A Cost Effective Automatic Balloon Launcher. United States. doi:10.2172/768881.
Berrigan J. Michael. Thu . "A Cost Effective Automatic Balloon Launcher". United States. doi:10.2172/768881. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/768881.
@article{osti_768881,
title = {A Cost Effective Automatic Balloon Launcher},
author = {Berrigan J. Michael},
abstractNote = {Approximately 800,000 balloon-borne radiosondes are hand-launched each year, a cost and labor-intensive procedure. Development of a low-cost Automatic Radiosonde Launcher would allow the manual procedure to be replaced with a reliable and less expensive process. Balloon-borne radiosondes provide essential meteorological data used by forecasters and researchers around the globe. The National Weather service alone launches tens of thousands of sondes from sites across the US. Although worldwide launching of radiosondes has been done for many years, it remains a labor intensive and therefore expensive operation. Using its own funding and, more recently with the help of a Phase I SBIR grant, Visidyne, Inc. has begun investigating the feasibility of building an Automatic Radiosonde Launcher (ARL) that can be built at a cost that will be acceptable to the commercial marketplace. That work has led to the issuing of four patents covering important innovations that will allow us to meet that goal. Under the recent Phase I effort, solutions to many of the key problems have been tested in the laboratory and in real-world demonstrations in the field. The balloon filling, battery wetting, and launch release mechanisms were designed, built, and tested. A breadboard launcher was constructed and tested to prove feasibility of key system elements. Demonstration launches of radiosondes were performed using the breadboard launcher from the National Weather Service facility in Gray, ME, and from Hanscom AFB in Lexington, MA. The cost and size of a full scale shelter prevented us from building one during Phase I, however, we do have a design that will accomplish our goals. The Automatic Radiosonde Launcher will significantly reduce the cost of launching balloon-borne instruments. US and foreign weather services and atmospheric, climatological, and meteorological researchers will all benefit from this innovation.},
doi = {10.2172/768881},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2000},
month = {6}
}