MRO Magazine

NIPR, Fukuoka Univ. and Kyushu Univ.: Balloon-Assisted UAV Brings Back Stratospheric Aerosol Samples from Altitude of 22km in Antarctica

March 30, 2015
By Business Wire News


A balloon-assisted UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) named “Phoenix-S1”, collaboratively developed by Kyushu University and Fukuoka University, Japan, has successfully brought back stratospheric aerosol samples from the altitude of 22km and observed aerosol density at the altitude of 23km in Antarctica on 24th January 2015. The observation was performed as one of the summer activities of 56th Japanese Antarctic Research Expedition (JARE-56, the leader: Professor Yoshifumi Nogi, NIPR). Phoenix-S1, after launch from an observation site called “S17” on Antarctic continent ice sheet, climbed up being suspended under a rubber balloon while aerosol number density observation and sampling are performed. After the natural burst of the balloon at an altitude of 23km, the UAV descended by a parachute, then started gliding back to the surface autonomously by separating the parachute and retrieved at S17 successfully. The maximum observation altitude this time is unprecedentedly high as the observation altitude using UAVs and even manned aircraft. This method is quite effective to retrieve observation apparatuses and aerosol samples from upper atmosphere easily at low cost.

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Information Contact
(About the research results)

  • Dr. Masahiko Hayashi, Professor
    Department of Earth Science, Fukuoka University
    TEL: +81-92-871-6631 (ext. 6168), FAX: +81-92-865-6030
  • Dr. Shin-Ichiro Higashino, Associate Professor
    Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Kyushu University
    TEL: +81-92-802-3043, FAX: +81-92-802-3001
  • Dr. Naohiko Hirasawa, Assistant Professor
    National Institute of Polar Research
    TEL:+81-42-512-0685, FAX:+81-42-528-3479

(About the press)
National Institute of Polar Research
Ms. Hiromi Obama, +81-42-512-0655
Public Relations Section
FAX: +81-42-528-3105
Fukuoka University
Mr. Yoji Shigetomi, +81-92-871-6631
Public Relations Office
FAX: +81-92-864-9415
Kyushu University
Ms. Mai Sendachi, +81-92-802-2130
Public Relations Office
FAX: +81-92-802-2139