NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server
Uses of tethered atmospheric research probesIn situ measurements in the lower thermosphere are rare because of the difficulty of reaching these altitudes with conventional instrument platforms. The emerging technology of tethered satellites as a means to probe these altitudes from above has matured to the point that a flight program is planned to verify the operational performance of a low-cost deployer mechanism for tethered satellites, and to demonstrate a basic understanding of the dynamics of tethered satellite deployment. With such operational developments at hand, it is appropriate to review some of the potential applications of tethered measurement platforms for acquiring in situ data in the upper atmosphere. This paper focuses on downward-deployed tethered satellite measurements of interest to atmospheric scientists and to hypersonic aerodynamicists, and discusses ways in which this technology may be able to support selected long-range research programs currently in progress or in various stages of pre-flight development. The intent is to illustrate for the potential user community some of the unique advantages of tethered measurement platform technology now under development, and to stimulate creative thinking about ways in which this new capability may be used in support of future research programs.
Deloach, Richard (NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
August 15, 2013
January 1, 1991