This project is to develop a long duration, high-altitude LTA platform optimized to use solar heating to generate lift and intended to loft small payloads in the range of 5–20 kg mass. The envisioned platform is a hybrid system building upon the well-established zero-pressure balloon technology employed by NASA but adding a solar energy capture and containment element to increase the lifting capability during daylight hours. The objective is to demonstrate the utility of solar heating for such a concept. A clear demonstration of the practicality of solar hot air lift could stimulate interest among large funding agencies to pursue the solar-powered, station-keeping LTA concept.
FACULTY CONTACT: Robert Fesen