Exploring Earth’s atmosphere using high altitude unmanned instrument platforms

ASTRAĀ investigates new technologies for making low cost observations of the physical parameters of the atmosphere. We develop and test platforms capable of delivering scientific instruments to altitudes ranging from the planetary boundary layer (hundreds of meters) to the upper stratosphere (up to 50km).

The use of fleets of light, unmanned aircraft, makes extensive studies more affordable, even when payloads need to be delivered to extreme altitudes. It also enables applications where the deployment of manned aircraft is impractical, such as when observations need to be made in highly polluted environments (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) or extreme weather conditions.

The challenges of developing such system are of a highly multi-disciplinary nature