CubeSounder: Flying a Novel 3D Weather Imaging Sensor on a High-Altitude Balloon

PI: Sean Bryan, Daniel Bliss (Co-I), Arizona State University

The CubeSounder: Flying a Novel 3D Weather Imaging Sensor on a High-Altitude Balloon demonstration will mature a low SWaP-C (size, weight, and power-cost) microwave sounding technology to improve weather forecasting.Through two flights on a high-altitude balloon from World View Enterprises, this novel millimeter-wave filter bank technology will collect three-dimensional images of atmospheric temperature and humidity. Data collected during the flights will be used to validate performance at high-altitudes and ultimately address limitations of current mixer sensors.

Technology Areas (?)
  • NA
Problem Statement

Weather forecasting requires consistent collection of global temperature and humidity data. Current weather satellite sensors rely on high-SWaP-C components that are difficult to replace. CubeSounder allows for state-of-the-art atmospheric sounding capabilities to be integrated into CubeSats, which would allow for significant improvements in weather forecasting accuracy, as well as the more efficient deployment of weather sensing technology.

Technology Maturation

Maturing this low-SWAP-C technology will fill an important weather forecasting need as many current U.S. weather satellites reach the end of their service lives. The CubeSounder high-altitude balloon flight will advance sensor capabilities that are lower cost, provide more spectral channels, and a higher level of stability. Having already demonstrated functionality in a lab setting, flight testing will advance the TRL of the millimeter-wave filter bank technology from TRL 4 to 6.

Future Customers

•Commercial Earth observation satellites
•Other flight-based environmental monitoring applications

Technology Details

  • Selection Date
    TechFlights20 (Sep 2020)
  • Program Status
  • Current TRL (?)
    Successful FOP Flights
  • 0 Balloon

Development Team

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