Expendable Glider for Oceanographic Research

Period of Performance: 06/23/2008 - 04/22/2009


Phase 1 STTR

Recipient Firm

Vehicle Control Technologies, Inc.
1900 Campus Commons Drive Suite 300
Reston, VA 20191
Firm POC
Principal Investigator

Research Institution

University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
285 Old Westport Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747
Institution POC

Research Topics


The proposed Glider design concept is based on quantitative tradeoffs between cost and performance. Existing glider technology has been analyzed, and two significant design details have led to a simplified design that will result in a compact, less expensive glider and a simplified delivery/launching mechanism. Using its high fidelity simulation and design tools, VCT has gained important new insights into glider design for performance. This has led to tradeoffs among wing parameters, vertical fin size, Ycg shift and rudder deflection for optimizing turn performance. Combining these discoveries has led to the design of the proposed wingless glider that can achieve equal or better turn performance of the legacy winged gliders. Legacy gliders use a weight-shift method pitch, roll and heading control. This increases the internal complexity of the system as it requires the weight to be mobile, and also increases the size of the pressure housing, effectively increasing the gliders size, weight, buoyancy required, and ultimately, cost. The low-cost expendable glider we are proposing would use a lift-up mast to transmit information. The mast is raised using the same actuator that operates the variable buoyancy engine, but at an extended stroke position.