UAVOS Inc. is finalizing manufacturing of the stratospheric aircraft HiDRON, commissioned by the Stratodynamics Aviation Inc. The HiDRON is a unique balloon-launched unmanned glider capable of autonomous and soaring flight modes, and designed for collecting high-altitude atmospheric data. The key objective of the HiDRON is to provide a new dynamic method for measuring and evaluating atmospheric phenomena at various altitudes in a variety of geographical locations. During the November campaign, the HiDRON will reach altitudes up to 25 km (82,000 feet).
The HiDRON fills a gap in current balloon-based lift and drift observation methods.
The HiDRON is launched to the stratosphere via a helium-filled balloon. Once launched the autopilot and integrated atmospheric measurement system transmit data in real-time to a ground station. After reaching the desired altitude (or as directed by an operator on the ground) the HiDRON is released from the balloon and glides back to a pre-specified landing site. Unique autopilot flight algorithms can process in-situ data such as thermal or wave conditions, to increase flight duration or direct the flight path to specific areas.
Due to UAVOS technical solution HiDRON landing is fully automatic, and the autopilot selects one of the pre-specified landing sites. HiDRON communication to the ground station is maintained via the telemetry system and backup satellite link. In addition, emergency flight modes ensure flight safety. Fixed Wing drone HiDRON is capable of carrying a payload of up to 1.5 kg. Wingspan is 3.5 m.
Currently, atmospheric measurement equipment is also lifted to high altitudes by balloons. However, once the balloon bursts the equipment descends quickly by parachute and drifts uncontrolled. Often the equipment is lost or damaged and has high retrieval costs. The HiDRON extends the data collection period on the descent and brings the equipment back.