Looft, Fred J.
Stafford, Kenneth A.
Each year, over 70,000 radiosondes are launched into our atmosphere aboard weather balloons to gather data used for weather prediction, climate research, directing air traffic, and more. After ascending to 120,000 ft, the radiosondes descend to Earth under a small parachute. Most of these radiosondes are used only once due to the lack of a means for recovery; more than 80% of radiosondes launched are lost. This project developed an autonomous radiosonde glider that actively steers itself from the apex of its flight to recovery locations on the ground. This enables easy and reliable recovery, reducing costs and offering new capabilities to atmospheric researchers. The glider integrates the essential weather sensors used on current radiosondes with those needed for autonomous flight.
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Major Qualifying Project
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Electrical and Computer Engineering