Objectives of the service
The Company believes less is more when it comes to weather measurements. Rather than to try to fight forces of nature, the ultralight StreamSonde, here attached to a drone, can be launched into the atmosphere to record the atmospheric flows and other weather parameters in great detail while it floats around with the natural winds. Its position is accurately known all the time due to a proprietary GNSS solution. Both government agencies and private companies are showing great interest in the technology operating according to the new paradigm.
Users and their needs
Weather is measured and forecasted in practically all of the world’s about 200 countries by national weather services, other government agencies and private companies. In addition to weather stations constrained to the ground and satellite measurements with wide coverage but lower accuracy, the vertical direction of the atmosphere needs to be measured with sondes on-site at altitudes from ground all the way up to the lower stratosphere. These sounding data are needed for understanding any kind of weather, in particular strong, complex phenomena such as storms and as input for computer models used in weather forecasting. The winds obtained be these sondes are, however, currently limited by the physical appearance of the sondes having either balloons or parachutes. The pendulum motion caused by the attachment string causes the GNSS position to be out of sync with the ambient wind, the latter which can only be obtained roughly as 20-second averages. The StreamSonde fills a gap in the market by being ultralight, streaming along with the winds and its GNSS position over time giving accurate wind data. Furthermore, its accelerometer, gyroscope and magnetometer give even more detailed information about small-scale turbulence and vorticity.
Service/ system concept
The StreamSonde, launched out of balloon, UAV, drone or airplane, floats around with the natural winds of the atmosphere and measures standard meteorological parameters: wind, pressure, temperature, relative humidity and new parameters in the context: turbulence, vorticity and air quality parameters. It allows weather forecasting and weather monitoring to reach new levels of accuracy and insight that are needed in a society that is increasingly sensitive to weather, that in turn features more and more extremes due to climate change.
The StreamSonde transmits data over FM radio to a receiving antenna, that is coupled to a receiver at a base station, that can be either fixed or mobile. Before launch, a ground check unit is used for turning the sonde on and reading its calibration coefficients. Accompanying data processing and visualization software provides data to the end users in an easily digestible format.
Space Added Value
The low-power, high-performance GNSS navigation module of the StreamSonde allows the sonde’s position to be determined with the needed accuracy based on positioning satellites to measure wind at a much higher accuracy than done by similar existing solutions in the market.
Following successful Baseline Design Review in June 2021, user requirements for the StreamSonde and auxiliary technologies are currently being implemented in the design of a pre-operational version of the full sounding system. The StreamSonde itself, the FM radio telemetry and the analysis software is being designed according to user requirements. The Critical Design Review is planned in September 2021.