2013-2014 Science Planning Summaries
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Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) - Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) operations

Program Manager:
Dr. Julie Palais

Event Number: I-185-M

ASC POC/Implementer:
Leslie Blank

Dr. Prasad Gogineni (Principal Investigator)
https://www.cresis.ku.edu/External Non U.S. Government Site

University of Kansas Lawrence
Lawrence, Kansas

Supporting Stations:  McMurdo Station
Research Locations:  Subglacial Lake Whillans area

Project Description:
Fine-resolution, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) ice-penetrating radar surveys of the Siple Coast ice streams, most notably Whillans (B), are the focus of the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) airborne missions in 2013. The goal of these measurements is to improve bed and surface topographic maps, leading to a more accurate assessment of the hydropotential field. Previous airborne-radar surveys from which bed conditions were measured years ago likely have large uncertainties because of the less accurate navigational data available at that time. By flying new lines with closer spacing that also cross these historic survey lines, researchers can examine important bed features in great detail and use the old data to expand our analysis.

Field Season Overview:
The six-person team will travel by LC-130 to the CReSIS SLW field camp in west Antarctica. They will conduct test flights with the Yak-54 UAS (unmanned aerial system) and potentially with the Meridian UAS. The flight test program begins with line-of-sight (LOS) flights to confirm the proper operation of the aircraft system. The team will then conduct airborne-radar survey flights with the Yak-54 UAS of science targets on the Whillans Ice Stream within line-of-sight from the CReSIS SLW field camp, focusing first on targets within a 5 mile radius, but moving toward the goal of over-the-horizon (OTH) flights up to a 10 mile radius. The team may also conduct airborne-radar survey flights with the Meridian UAS of science targets on Whillans within 5, 10, and 50 miles from the field camp, starting with LOS flights and moving to OTH flights. To later process the radar data, the team will make use of the differential GPS data from the GPS base station at camp.

Deploying Team Members:

  • Nicholas Brown
  • Richard Hale (Co-PI)
  • Shahriar Keshmiri (Co-PI)
  • Ryan Lykins
  • Thomas Stastny

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