Black Swift Technologies (BST), a specialized engineering firm based in Boulder, CO, has unveiled the Black Swift S2™ UAS, a tightly integrated small Unmanned Aerial System (sUAS) specifically designed to meet the needs of atmospheric and earth observing scientific field campaigns. This advanced aerial platform was developed and refined in partnership with NASA and University of Colorado (CU) Boulder Integrated Remote and In Situ Sensing (IRISS), and consists of the airframe, avionics, and sensors specifically designed to measure atmospheric parameters (e.g., temperature, pressure, humidity, and 3D winds) as well as carrying up to 2.3kg (5lbs) of additional payload. The first customer to accept delivery of the Black Swift S2 UAS was CU IRISS.
The Black Swift S2™ UAS relies on the commercially available SwiftCore™ Flight Management System (FMS)—proven in the field to provide a cost-effective, powerful, and easy-to-operate solution specifically engineered to meet the demanding requirements of nomadic scientific campaigns.
“NASA, CU, and similar scientific agencies require deliverables with a high degree of accuracy and reliability,” emphasizes Jack Elston, Ph.D., CEO of Black Swift Technologies. “The Black Swift S2 is a purpose-built aerial platform specifically engineered for flying scientific payloads in demanding atmospheric environments and will enhance the performance and utility of any airborne science fleet.”
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Accurate by Design, Modular by Nature
Organizations can benefit from the measurements provided by this system in various atmospheric conditions using different sensor payloads, which by design, are easily interchangeable. Additionally, the well-documented power and data interfaces of the Black Swift S2 UAS will be employed to integrate the sensors required for the measurement of soil moisture content, atmospheric volcanic phenomenon, and fire weather, as well as providing satellite calibration via multispectral cameras. The Black Swift S2 UAS has successfully collected science data flying in full payload configuration in extreme environments (tropical volcanoes, arctic permafrost, high alpine ranges) for NASA and NOAA deployments.
Leveraging BST’s proprietary Mission Planning Software, scientists can program the Black Swift S2 in minutes to calculate the area under review and then begin collecting data for immediate analysis and decision-making. With its intuitive tab-driven interface, flight planning is simple and easy to accomplish. Mission monitoring and mapping is all done from a handheld Android™ Tablet loaded with BST’s SwiftTab™ software. Gesture-based controls enable users to confidently deploy their Black Swift S2 with minimal training while being able to collect data over geography that is topically diverse with confidence.
Fully Integrated Solution
The existence of a sUAS capable of carrying the necessary instruments routinely through harsh environments adds an invaluable contribution to the calibration and validation of data collected from ground- and satellite-based methods. The flight envelope, concept of operations (CONOPS), and rugged nature of the Black Swift S2 will permit researchers to collect data previously unobtainable through traditional data collection methods or existing sUAS.
Part of a Turnkey Atmospheric Research Solution
BST and CU possess one of the largest and most diverse UAS offerings specifically designed for atmospheric sensing along with one of the nation’s leading ground support networks (cars, personnel, calibration equipment and towers). This combined team can address almost any foreseeable atmospheric science need. If you are a researcher with a need for atmospheric data that is best gathered by a UAS, BST and CU have a solution for you. This can be anything from a data buy up through a full service custom payload install and operation.
“Our vision is to create a collaborative environment where we can be greater than the sum of our parts,” states Cory Dixon, Ph.D., IRISS Chief Technologist. “By capitalizing on our strengths in aerospace engineering and earth sciencestogether with Black Swift Technologies advanced flight management avionics, sensor integration and their purpose-built scientific research airframes, we can support a wide range of atmospheric science initiatives at a time where rapid technological advances keep many of these capabilities out of reach of typical researchers and scientists.”
Through this unique collaboration, researchers and scientists can now gain access to highly specialized research equipment without the burden of acquisition costs or ongoing maintenance fees.
For more information visit bst.aero