Automated Sonde Launching System

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ADA Technologies, Inc.
8100 Shaffer Parkway Array
Littleton, CO 80127
Firm POC
Principal Investigator


Balloon-borne radiosondes are used extensively to collect meteorological data in atmospheric research programs funded by NOAA, WMO, DOD, DOE and others. The launch of radiosondes requires skilled personnel at each launch site to perform tasks such as balloon filling, sonde pre-conditioning and attachment, and physical release of the equipment. At present no low-cost, simple, lightweight, and robust launchers that automate the process are commercially available. Launching balloon sondes in high winds is particularly problematic. In Phase I, ADA demonstrated the automated launch of balloon-borne radiosondes in high winds (30mph+) from a novel automated sonde launcher weighing roughly 100 lbs compared to multi-ton commercial alternatives. The ADA modular launcher is less expensive and more flexible than existing systems, incorporating numerous innovations and robust mechanisms that improve reliability. In Phase II, ADA will complete the development and packaging of this system and field validate the design on a ship. The prototype unit will be designed with extensive input from users and configured for minimal service requirements by shipboard personnel.