Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering (MSME)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Sean Bailey


In June 2021 a series of high altitude flights were conducted in Spaceport America, NM, using a balloon launched Uncrewed Aircraft System (UAS) to assess its capability to conduct measurements of various atmospheric properties and study turbulence in the troposphere and lower stratosphere. This UAS descends using an automated flight trajectory. The instruments aboard included a NASA-developed infrasonic microphone to evaluate its remote turbulence detection capabilities and a five-hole probe capable of measuring the in situ wind vector. Also on board were temperature, humidity and wind profile sensors. This document focuses on the atmospheric properties measured at high altitudes, the use of these properties to calculate different turbulence statistics, stability parameters and their connection to the turbulence using the five-hole probe measurements. By being able to transect the air, the glider allows for turbulence wavelengths to be sampled at a particular altitude, improving statistical convergence and spatial resolution of derived statistics from its in-situ sensors. The results show that the temperature and relative humidity agree well with conventional radiosonde measurements made by nearby National Weather Service stations. In addition, the results show that in-situ measurements using this type of UAS can be an effective tool for measuring atmospheric wind and turbulence.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This study was supported by National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Flight Opportunities Program through award number 80NSSC20K0102.