Trajectory Optimization for Balloon Flight Planning

Roland R. Draxler NOAA/ Air Resources Laboratory, Silver Spring, Maryland

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Abstract

The recent solo transpacific balloon flight was used as a test case to evaluate multiple trajectory techniques to select different pathways based upon potential variations in balloon altitudes. Altitude changes between 3 and 8 km above ground resulted in predicted ending locations varying from the Hawaiian Islands to the Atlantic coast, after five days' travel. The method can be used to select optimum flight altitudes based upon forecast meteorological fields.

Abstract

The recent solo transpacific balloon flight was used as a test case to evaluate multiple trajectory techniques to select different pathways based upon potential variations in balloon altitudes. Altitude changes between 3 and 8 km above ground resulted in predicted ending locations varying from the Hawaiian Islands to the Atlantic coast, after five days' travel. The method can be used to select optimum flight altitudes based upon forecast meteorological fields.

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