Based at the Naval Air Facility Key West in Florida, ACES researchers in August
2002 chased down thunderstorms using an uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) -
allowing them to achieve dual goals of gathering weather data safely and
testing new aircraft technology. This marked the first time a UAV was used to
conduct lightning ... research.
Aimed at better understanding the causes of an electrical storm's fury and its
effects on our home planet, this study was a collaboration among the Marshall
Center; the University of Alabama at Huntsville; NASA's Goddard Space Flight
Center, Greenbelt, Md.; Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and
General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc., San Diego.
Researchers in August 2002 conducted overflights of thunderstorms over the
southwestern corner of Florida. For the first time in NASA research an
uninhabited aerial vehicle (UAV) named ALTUS was used to collect cloud
electrification data. Carrying field mills, optical sensors, electric field
sensors and other instruments, it allowed scientists to collect cloud
electrification data for the first time from above the storm from it's birth
through dissipation. This experiment allowed scientists to achieve the dual
goals of gathering weather data safely, and testing new aircraft technology.
This dataset consists of data collected from seven instruments: the Slow/Fast
antenna, Electric Field Mill, two Optical Pulse Sensors, Searchcoil
magnetometer and Accelerometers.
These data are collected at 200KHz from the first 16 telemetry items collected
at on the aircraft and are initiated by an operator selected trigger (e.g.
DOPS), and continues collecting for as long as the trigger continues.