Our initial focus in developing the Glidersonde was to meet the needs of developing countries where obtaining routine soundings has been prohibitively expensive due to the cost of the expendables. We feel the deficiency of soundings worldwide is strongly limiting meteorological modeling and analysis activities. We feel, from our initial analysis, that the Glidersonde could be used up to 70% of the time at numerous locations worldwide. At some locations, especially in southern North America, South American, and Africa this number could easily be 95% of the time. This would be a significant cost saving to individual countries and organizations that subsidize the cost of expendables.
Electric Power and Gas Industry
In the June 1998 issue of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, there is an article which outlines the importance of sounding data to the prediction to high and low temperatures. The accurate prediction of these temperatures is critically important for the electrical generation industry. So important, in fact, that individual utility companies are now purchasing their own sounding equipment. The Glidersonde could be used to minimize the cost to these companies of making soundings.
New and existing Environmental Protection Agency rules governing air quality for large metropolitan areas have increased the need for monitoring boundary layer air chemistry. Monitoring the height of the inversion and its fluctuation is important for forecasting the severity of an air pollution event. The Glidersonde's ability to carry and return safely expensive air chemistry sondes would allow a more extensive analysis program for individual cities, lessening the potential penalties administered by the EPA for air pollution violations.
The scientific objectives for field programs often require an extensive network of sounding sites, or very frequent observations. Often the cost for obtaining these soundings proves to be too high and the field campaigns are often scaled back. The Glidersonde offers the potential for scientists to collect the number of soundings desired at a greatly reduced cost. Additionally, much scientific research does not require sounding data to very high levels (i.e. 10mb), and soundings to 300mb would be more than adequate for many research activities. The Glidersonde and the RPV (the latter profiling to perhaps 500mb) offer the opportunity to collect these profiles more economically.
We feel that are numerous military applications ranging from surveillance to sounding requirements for ballistic and guided ordinance. Given the small size, non-existent radar profile, and low cost, the Glidersonde has considerable potential for testing and field operations in simulated or real battle conditions.