UV - Unmanned Vehicles

BST to develop UAS for Venus observation

25th June 2018 - 09:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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Black Swift Technologies (BST) has received a contract from NASA to develop a UAS to perform upper atmospheric observations of Venus, the company announced on 18 June.

The company is proposing a planetary UAS based on dynamic soaring technology, a proven method to extract energy from atmospheric shear. The surface temperature of Venus is extremely hot at 467°C but the atmospheric pressure and temperature at about 50km to 65km above the surface of the planet is nearly the same as of the Earth, making its upper atmosphere the most Earth-like area in the solar system.

The atmosphere of Venus is composed primarily of carbon dioxide and nitrogen. The upper layer of the planet’s atmosphere exhibits a phenomenon of super-rotation, where the atmosphere circles the planet in just four Earth days. The resulting winds blow at speeds up to 360km/h. On the other hand, the wind speed becomes increasingly slower as the elevation from the surface decreases, with the breeze barely reaching the speed of 10 km/h on the surface.

Jack Elston, CEO of Black Swift Technologies, said: ‘While there have been a variety of systems proposed for upper atmospheric observations of Venus, the planet’s high wind speeds pose a significant design challenge.

‘Our solution will be designed to not only survive in the harsh wind environment, but also simultaneously perform targeted sampling of the atmosphere while continuously extracting energy, even on the dark side of the planet.’

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