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Proceedings Paper

Airborne Reconnaissance In The Civilian Sector: Agricultural Monitoring From High-Altitude Powered Platforms
Author(s): James W. youngblood; Ray D. Jackson
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Paper Abstract

Increasing attention is being focused on unmanned, airborne sensor platforms for long-endurance reconnaisance, monitoring, and communications purposes. Until recently most of this activity has been driven by military needs and applications. Preliminary performance and design analyses for such vehicles have identified enabling technologies, competing vehicle design concepts, and basic operational characteristics. As the various concepts and key technologies mature, it is apparent that applications exist in the civilian sector for this class of aircraft. In particular, fixed-wing, high-altitude powered platforms (HAPPs) capable of long-endurance flight (several days minimum) at altitudes above 18 km (59,000 ft) offer unique capabilities. Over a local or regional extent of land, a dedicated HAPP can provide frequent, if not continuous, observation cycles. Long endurance on station greatly increases the probability of obtaining cloud-free information which, as part of a continuing, near-real-time data stream, could be rapidly processed and made available to users within hours. This capability would provide an unparalleled amount of information not otherwise available. This paper describes some HAPP concepts, characterized by their propulsion modes (incorporating microwave, solar, and chemical energy sources), which may he available by the 1990's. In addition, some promising mission applications for the civilian sector are identified. An agricultural monitoring mission, described in some detail, illustrates the unique performance benefits vis-a'-vis conventional aircraft or orbiting spacecraft.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 January 1984
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0424, Airborne Reconnaissance VII, (9 January 1984); doi: 10.1117/12.936205
Show Author Affiliations
James W. youngblood, NASA Langley Research Center (United States)
Ray D. Jackson, USDA Agricultural Research Service (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0424:
Airborne Reconnaissance VII
Paul A. Henkel, Editor(s)

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