Multifunction Wind Measurement Sensor

Period of Performance: 04/10/2001 - 01/10/2002


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Michigan Aerospace Corp.
1777 Highland Drive Suite B
Ann Arbor, MI 48108
Principal Investigator


The application identified by the Air Force requires a Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) system that can help in the launch, flight and recovery of Reusable Launch Vehicles (RLVs). This Multifunction Wind Measurement Sensor (MWiMS) will have a short-range function (less than 50m) that allows it to act as an aircraft air data system and a long-range function that allows it to profile winds from 1-10km ahead of the vehicle. The proposed Michigan Aerospace MWiMS is an optical air measurement system that has the unique features of being able to operate in clear air (i.e., no aerosols), uses a sensing aperture that is flush-mounted to the vehicle's skin, and has the size, weight, and power characteristics that make it feasible for air and space use. Our systems will take advantage of aerosols when present, but do not rely solely upon aerosols. Michigan Aerospace has developed several direct detection LIDAR systems (both ground- and aircraft-based) and will use that experience along with extensive knowledge in this field to propose a design for the MWiMS. In addition, hardware-in-the-loop tests of critical aspects of the proposed system will be demonstrated in this Phase I using these existing LIDAR systems.The measurement of wind velocity and other atmospheric parameters (e.g., pressure and temperature) has application to a number of critical military, civil space/aerospace and weather forecasting operations. One of the technical objectives of the RLV program is to enable the integration of new technologies. MWiMS could provide performance, safety and reliability advantages that could eventually translate into lower recurring flight costs; one of the primary goals of the RLV program. Use of MWiMS as an air data system has application to RLV flight operations in the lower atmosphere as well as to high dynamics aircraft, especially stealth aircraft requiring a low radar cross section. The multiple-use of MWiMS as a wind shear, gust alleviation, clear air turbulence sensor would greatly expand the market potential into the commercial airline realm.