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Development of a simulator for flight control of a stratospheric balloon

Grant number: 19/15030-9
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2019
Effective date (End): November 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Physics - General Physics
Principal Investigator:Vivaldo Leiria Campo Junior
Grantee:Marisa Fonseca de Almeida Brito
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


The research and development of astrobiology to understand the possibility of life under extreme conditions prompts efforts in several areas of science and engineering related to space exploration. The study and characterization of such forms of life are difficult to simulate in laboratory due to the extreme environment conditions, including low pressure, temperature and humidity as well as high radiation incidence. A possible and affordable alternative is to realize such biological experiments in the highest layers of atmosphere by means of probes coupled to meteorological latex balloons, once the environment conditions there has some similarity with, for example, Mars atmosphere. In Brazil, some research groups work in the development of the probes to transport the experimental payload up to the stratosphere, being responsible for measuring all the relevant environmental conditions and for ensuring a safe landing. However, there is the important problem of short time duration of the flights, due to the burst of the latex balloon, that limits the exposure time to the extreme conditions. To solve this problem, it is possible to use a valve to control the balloon volume allowing its buoyancy at a given altitude for longer times. This project of scientific initiation aims to make possible long time flights with stratospheric balloons equipped with the valve through the development of a flight simulator that will be able of computing the balloon trajectory given the meteorological conditions and also will allow the valve control to achieve buoyancy at a given altitude. This project, therefore, will help to increase the duration of the biological experiments carried out in the probes, making them more accurate. (AU)

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