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Aerostats are inflatable, lighter-than-air aircraft and are typically deployed on a tether for monitoring and sensing purposes. In the WSGC TAP, we will, through a NASA grant, be providing our partner schools with tethered aerostat systems for deployment over land or water to monitor environmental and/or atmospheric properties. 

Hardware including the aerostat, tether, sensors, microcontroller (Arduino or similar), solar cells, and batteries will be provided by the WSGC through TAP Project Coordinator, Dan Hawk. Specific questions about project hardware and suitable research questions should be addressed directly to Mr. Hawk.

Sensor packages that can flown on your aerostat include

  • thermal imaging camera
  • mini multispectral camera
  • temperature, pressure, humidity sensors
  • wind speed monitor
  • radiation detector (short-term monitoring only)
  • light sensor

 Possible projects include

  • spatial temperature pattern mapping of waterways using Thermal Infrared Imaging (TIR)
  • temperature variation near point-source influx (effluent, storm drain, etc.) on rivers, creeks
  • TIR detection and surveying of nocturnal animal movements 
  • bat detection and surveying
  • vegetation/agricultural health monitoring with spectral imaging
  • radiation environment monitoring

Lead Student Interns (LSI) and Affiliate Student Interns (ASI) will work with Mr. Dan Hawk, WSGC TAP Project Coordinator, to develop a scientifically valid, sustainable research program on their campus. LSIs will participate in the recruitment and training of ASIs and in the training of additional student team members. Additionally, LSIs will lead the data analysis and progress reporting of the TAP project on their campus. LSIs and ASIs are expected to write periodic progress reports, present the results of their research at the annual Wisconsin Space Conference, and submit an annual research report for publication in the Proceedings of the Wisconsin Space Conference



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