NASA Phase 1 SBIR Complements Other Work on Long-Range Turbulence Detection

Michigan Aerospace Corporation (MAC), an advanced engineering and products company, today announced that it has been awarded a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase 1 contract to begin work on MAC’s Short-Range Clear Air Turbulence Sensor (SR-CATS) system. SR-CATS will use MAC’s exclusive Direct Detection Doppler Wind LIDAR (D3WL) technology to detect clear-air turbulence a few hundred feet ahead of aircraft, including airliners. This information can then be fed into the aircraft’s flight control system, which can automatically adjust the control surfaces to lessen the impact of gusts and turbulence on the aircraft and its passengers. MAC was founded in 1996 to commercialize ultraviolet-based LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging, technology for a variety of markets. Using ultraviolet light allows MAC’s LIDARs to operate in clear air, without the presence of aerosols. SR-CATS will also sense airspeed, air pressure and temperature, allowing it to supplement or replace traditional air-data sensors. This effort complements the Phase 2 SBIR award MAC won earlier this year for MADCAT, the Molecular Air Data Clear Air Turbulence Sensor, which measures turbulence kilometers ahead of an aircraft.