The accuracy of weather forecasts over the U.S. in the 2- to 5-day period is currently constrained by the sparsity of data off the west coast of the U.S. Although atmospheric soundings (which have high resolution in the vertical) are taken twice daily over the continents, data over the oceans are generally limited to measurements from satellites, resulting in observations with coarse vertical resolution. The development of a small, long-duration, superpressure balloon system, capable of making multiple atmospheric soundings over oceanic environments, was begun in May 1995. Design requirements for meeting the long-term meteorological goals are outlined. Two prototypes have been built. Prototype I is designed for short, low flights over land that demonstrate vertical control and recovery. Prototype II is designed for first flights in an ocean environment. Payload on both prototypes includes: sensors for measuring internal and external temperature and pressure, GPS for positioning, pumps and valves for air ballasting, modem and radio telemetry for communicating data to the ground, microprocessors for onboard control, and safety systems. Results from laboratory tests and tethered tests are shown.
This publication was presented at the following:
Authors who have authored or contributed to this publication.