Ground, airborne, and space operations are often severely constrained by a lack of atmospheric knowledge, especially at longer distances.
Michigan Aerospace combines extensive design and engineering, program management, and production experience with expertise in atmospheric physics to ensure that we meet our customers’ requirements.
Our Direct Detection LIDAR, Raman, and multi-wavelength systems provide atmospheric intelligence:
• Ground-based LIDAR for launch and test ranges
• Airborne Optical Air Data Systems, with options for clear air turbulence, ice, and volcanic ash detection
• Airborne Precision Air Drop LIDAR for more accurate and consistent payload delivery
• Space-based atmospheric profiling for improving weather and climate models
• LIDAR for wind turbine and wind farm optimization and protection
- HALAS: High-Altitude Atmospheric LIDAR for Launch Sites and Test Ranges
- SOFDI: Wind and Temperature Measurement in the Mesosphere and Thermosphere
- MiNI-ME: Miniaturized Nightglow Interferometer for Monitoring Emissions
- MWACS: Multi-Wavelength Atmospheric LIDAR
- UV-Lite: Compact Short-Range Atmospheric LIDAR
The High Altitude LIDAR Atmospheric Sensing (HALAS) System is a ground-based, UV LIDAR and Raman system for real-time, high-altitude measurement of wind velocity, direction, density, temperature, and composition – O2, N2, and H2O mass fractions.
With an operating range of 0.6-50km+, HALAS is ideal for high-altitude vehicle testing, launch sites and test ranges. The directional pointing control and volumes of data produced are significantly beyond what is available with traditional balloonsondes.
Part of our AeroForecast product line, HALAS provides the next generation of atmospheric intelligence and is available in a variety of portable and transportable solutions.
SOFDI is a portable, passive, unmanned, remote-controlled instrument constructed to measure continuous 24-hour (i.e., nighttime and daytime) winds and temperatures from the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere. These measurements provide data about the stability of the F-layer which would predict disturbances in the ionosphere. Such ionospheric disturbances cause radio communication disruptions.
Michigan Aerospace, in conjunction with Clemson University, has developed and fabricated a passive Fabry-Perot based instrument for the detection of thermospheric winds. The Miniaturized Nightglow Interferometer for Monitoring Emissions (MiniME) utilizes fringe imaging of the 630.3 nm emissions from thermospheric atomic oxygen to detect thermospheric winds through measurement of the Doppler shift of the collected emissions relative to a calibrated source. Compact (~70 cm long), portable and rugged, MiniMe represents a significant breakthrough in the development of deployable, stand alone Fabry-Perot based instruments.
MWACS is a multi-wavelength LIDAR system developed for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
Developed for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the MWACS multi-wavelength, transportable LIDAR provides unprecedented capability in characterizing atmospheric composition and chemistry. Advancements in aerosol characterization and the measurement of atmospheric transmittance are possible through the separation of molecular and aerosol scattering. The LIDAR measures aerosol optical depth, backscatter, depolarization, molecular temperature, molecular density, and wind velocity along the laser propagation direction. Improved atmospheric transmittance and aerosol characterization capabilities developed through this program will advance air quality and climate-change related measurements.
UV-Lite is a compact, scanning UV LIDAR developed to measure wind speed, direction, temperature, and density for wind energy applications. The system provides range-resolved measurements at distances up to 300m. A two-axis gimbal allows a wide range of scan patterns. Products are being developed by our venture-funded spinoff, OptoAtmospherics, through a licensing agreement with Michigan Aerospace
- AeroForecast-OADS: Optical Air Data System
- AeroForecast-PADS: Precision Air Drop System
- TWiLiTE: Global Hawk Wind LIDAR
AeroForecast-OADS is a UV-LIDAR solution for optical air data measurements on all types of airborne platforms – fixed wing, rotorcraft, high altitude, high dynamic, manned and unmanned. Using our Fabry-Perot approach, we can measure wind speed, density, and temperature directly and simultaneously to provide a full air data solution at all altitudes and in completely clear air.
AeroForecast-PADS is a long-range, airborne profiling LIDAR that increases the precision and accuracy of air drop operations. Our system allows payload delivery from above the boundary layer without the need for drop-sondes, requiring fewer passes over the drop zone. This translates to improved safety of the air crew and recipients on the ground.
Michigan Aerospace provided the Fabry-Perot interferometer for NASA’s Global Hawk (Hurricane Hunter) TWiLiTE LIDAR. TWiLiTE will provide wind profiles for improved forecasting and tracking of hurricanes and other severe weather conditions.
Michigan Aerospace built the Fabry-Perot interferometer for one of the channels on the Cloud Aerosol Transport System (CATS). CATS was developed by NASA Goddard and provides atmospheric data to better understand climate change and improve weather models. It is now operational on the International Space Station. CATS measures clouds, dust, and smoke, and can be used by air traffic controllers to steer aircraft away from volcanic ash.
Michigan Aerospace built the interferometer for the GIFS instrument, developed by the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. GIFS was successfully tested aboard a NASA P-3 Orion aircraft. GIFS is intended to measure cloud-top temperature, pressure, and altitude on a global scale. More and better data leads to significant improvements in forecasting weather events, including hurricane motion and intensity.