Archive for February, 2013



We have launched our new high altitude balloon flight planner. Using a Monte Carlo approach, the planner computes an ensemble of simulated flight paths, with appropriate distributions imposed on a variety of physical parameters (drag coefficient variations, balloon burst diameters, etc.). The latest weather forecast (high altitude wind, temperature and pressure profiles) is downloaded each time a simulation is run. By default, the simulator will assume that the balloon will rise until it bursts and then it descends on a parachute (a number of common balloon and parachute types can be selected from a database), though station keeping (floating) flights can also be simulated.

The simulation engine runs on a Windows Azure cloud server, enabling the use of the planner from low powered devices (tablets, smartphones, etc.).

The ASTRA team will present the detailed description of the model behind the planner at the forthcoming Decelerator / Balloon Systems Conference of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (to be held at the end of March in Daytona Beach, Florida).

The planner is free to use and can be accessed by visiting the ASTRA web pages and clicking on the Balloon Flight Planner link. 



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