When ground observation or signal relaying in the vicinity of an unfriendly operative scenario are of interest, such as for military actions or disaster relief, high-altitude airships (HAA) offer some technical benefits. Featuring a milder cost and higher deployment flexibility with respect to lower-Earth orbit satellites, these platforms, often baptized as high-altitude pseudo-satellites (HAPS), operate sufficiently far from the ground to provide better imaging coverage and farther-reaching signal relaying than standard low-flying systems, such as aircraft or helicopters. Despite the atmospheric conditions in the higher atmosphere, they offer stable airstreams and highly-predictable solar energy density, thus ideally giving the chance of smooth operation for a prolonged period of time. The design of airships for the task is often conditioned by the need to go through the lower layers of the atmosphere, featuring less predictable and often unstable aerodynamics, during the climb to the target altitude. With the aim of simultaneously largely increasing the ease and quickness of platform deployment, removing most of the design constraints for the HAPS induced by the crossing of the lower atmosphere, and thus allowing for the design of a machine best suited to matching optimal performance at altitude, the deployment of the HAA by means of a missile is an interesting concept. However, since the HAA platform should take the role of a launcher payload, the feasibility of the mission is subject to a careful negotiation of specification, such that the ensuing overall weight of the airship is as low as possible. A preliminary design technique for high-altitude airships is therefore introduced initially, customized to some features typical to missile-assisted deployment, but with the potential for broader applications. The proposed procedure bends itself to the inclusion in an optimal framework, with the aim of seeking a design solution automatically. A validation of the adopted models and assumptions on existing HAPS is proposed first. The design of the airship is then carried out in a parameterized fashion, highlighting the impact of operative and technological constraints on the resulting sizing solutions. This allows for the marking of the boundaries of the space of design solutions for a launcher-deployable airship.

On the Feasibility of a Launcher-Deployable High-Altitude Airship: Effects of Design Constraints in an Optimal Sizing Framework

Riboldi, Carlo E. D.;Rolando, Alberto;
2022

Abstract

When ground observation or signal relaying in the vicinity of an unfriendly operative scenario are of interest, such as for military actions or disaster relief, high-altitude airships (HAA) offer some technical benefits. Featuring a milder cost and higher deployment flexibility with respect to lower-Earth orbit satellites, these platforms, often baptized as high-altitude pseudo-satellites (HAPS), operate sufficiently far from the ground to provide better imaging coverage and farther-reaching signal relaying than standard low-flying systems, such as aircraft or helicopters. Despite the atmospheric conditions in the higher atmosphere, they offer stable airstreams and highly-predictable solar energy density, thus ideally giving the chance of smooth operation for a prolonged period of time. The design of airships for the task is often conditioned by the need to go through the lower layers of the atmosphere, featuring less predictable and often unstable aerodynamics, during the climb to the target altitude. With the aim of simultaneously largely increasing the ease and quickness of platform deployment, removing most of the design constraints for the HAPS induced by the crossing of the lower atmosphere, and thus allowing for the design of a machine best suited to matching optimal performance at altitude, the deployment of the HAA by means of a missile is an interesting concept. However, since the HAA platform should take the role of a launcher payload, the feasibility of the mission is subject to a careful negotiation of specification, such that the ensuing overall weight of the airship is as low as possible. A preliminary design technique for high-altitude airships is therefore introduced initially, customized to some features typical to missile-assisted deployment, but with the potential for broader applications. The proposed procedure bends itself to the inclusion in an optimal framework, with the aim of seeking a design solution automatically. A validation of the adopted models and assumptions on existing HAPS is proposed first. The design of the airship is then carried out in a parameterized fashion, highlighting the impact of operative and technological constraints on the resulting sizing solutions. This allows for the marking of the boundaries of the space of design solutions for a launcher-deployable airship.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1210444
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