Low Cost, High Altitude, Unmanned Sensor Platform

Period of Performance: 08/14/2003 - 02/10/2004


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Galileo Systems
2229 Larimer St.
Denver, CO 80205
Principal Investigator


In response to the MDA requirement for low cost high altitude platform, Galileo Systems (GS) proposes to develop low cost zero pressure floating balloon systems capable of imaging missile launches and flights. Additionally, GS will develop systems for theatre deployable, tactically responsive balloon launching systems for very rapid launch and near-all-weather balloon launch capability. Significant experience with high performance balloon technology is already possesed by GS personnel. Balloon operations are hindered by surface weather. Proposed development aims to mitigate those hinderences. The high altitude platform has significant commerical potential for applications currently being served by conventional aerial photography and space based imaging. The extreme altitude possible with the balloon-based high altitude platform makes it more similar to space-based than airplane-based observations. The high altitude platform could be utilized by users of commercial space based imaging as a competitive source, and/or as a 'gap filler' in the event that a user has a requirement to image a specific geographic area on a time and frequency not served by the limited about of LEO imaging satellites. Additionally, the loitering high altitude platform make a perfect platform for low power VHF/UHF and higher frequency radio communications with an effective operational radius of over 400 miles. Additionally, in the event that an adversary develops technology to blind or disrupt LEO observation satellites, a region could be flooded with dozens long loiter time, observation balloons.