Abstract

High-altitude scientific balloons allow for very little control over their trajectories. Although systems exist to influence the burst altitude of the balloons, their horizontal motion is dictated solely by the vagrancies of the wind. The accurate prediction of balloon trajectories is thus a topic of great importance to flight operations personnel, since launch/no-launch decisions must be made based on the likelihood of the balloon landing in some undesirable location. Such concerns are particularly acute in areas with high population densities or significant areas of restricted airspace, both of which are prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic region. This paper presents an overview of the present state of balloon trajectory prediction. The mathematical fundamentals of balloon trajectory prediction are discussed, as are the major available software implementations.

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Oct 26 2017

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A Survey of Current Balloon Trajectory Prediction Technology

High-altitude scientific balloons allow for very little control over their trajectories. Although systems exist to influence the burst altitude of the balloons, their horizontal motion is dictated solely by the vagrancies of the wind. The accurate prediction of balloon trajectories is thus a topic of great importance to flight operations personnel, since launch/no-launch decisions must be made based on the likelihood of the balloon landing in some undesirable location. Such concerns are particularly acute in areas with high population densities or significant areas of restricted airspace, both of which are prevalent in the Mid-Atlantic region. This paper presents an overview of the present state of balloon trajectory prediction. The mathematical fundamentals of balloon trajectory prediction are discussed, as are the major available software implementations.