NASA Grant Awarded to ERAU Engineering For Kite Flying In The Stratosphere

By on May 23, 2016 in WNDB News

Kite Surfing in the Stratosphere

Daytona Beach, FL-One of eight NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Program Phase II grants for a half million dollars is in the hands of a team led by professors in the College of Engineering at Embry-Riddle’s Daytona Beach Campus.

The grant money will enable the faculty and student research team to continue the development of a futuristic concept using unmanned aircraft to gather wind and solar power at 60,000 feet above the Earth that someday might lead to atmospheric satellites providing communications and surveillance capabilities, among other applications.

The team is led by Dr. William Engblom, Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Aerospace Engineering. An initial NAIC Phase I grant of $100,000 allowed the team to begin the development of a kite-surfing concept. The concept uses two connected unmanned aerial vehicles that sail without propulsion while also collecting solar power, using wind shear that is persistently found in the lower stratosphere. The platform may also extract wind power using the propeller in a turbine mode when there is excessive wind shear.

The Embry-Riddle research team includes Dr. Engblom and Dr. Hever Moncayo, Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering. Government partners include Ryan Decker from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center and flight testing experts from NASA Kennedy Space Center. A well-known aircraft designer/consultant, Joe Wurts, is on the team. Several graduate students are also part of the effort.

You can see an animation of the project by clicking here.

Photo courtesy of ERAU College of Engineering

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.

 

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