High-Fidelity Simulator of High-Altitude Platforms

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This document will be focused on the development of a comprehensive study around high-altitude platforms and the validation of a high-fidelity numerical simulator for them, more specifically for weather balloons. These high-altitude balloons are essential for near space experiments, as any other mean will be either impossible or much more expensive to perform that kind of tasks. This project will upgrade an existing simulator in order to properly estimate the burst point of the balloon during its flight, as well as to add the calculation of the landing point of the platform equipped with a parachute. This simulator will take into account several variables that take an important role in the evolution of the balloon trajectory like temperatures and pressures, together with the evolution of the radius of the balloon. Moreover, the program will use high fidelity predictions of the winds and temperatures of the environment where the simulated mission takes place, provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Besides the simulator improvement, a platform prototype for an experimental launch will be set up, securing the functionality of its tracking and communication systems to properly send data about its position to the control station, and the recording of all the information extracted from the mission. Moreover, the decoding procedure followed to extract the location information from the message sent by the platform will be explained. As this experimental launch is scheduled for the near future, the results from the simulator will be compared with the data retrieved in an early mission of a high-altitude balloon in order to check its validity and efficiency. Moreover, to complete the analyses performed, a comparison between this simulator results and the ones extracted from an external online predictor, is done together with an uncertainty analysis around weather information and ascent parameters.
Balloon, Simulator, High-Altitude Platform, Tracking and Communication Systems
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