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China tests first drone-carried meteorological data monitor to gauge atmosphere

Updated: May 25,2018 8:52 AM     Xinhua

Photo taken on May 13, 2018 shows technicians preparing unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) carrying the dropsonde, or meteorological data monitor, in Huaibei, East China’s Anhui province. China has successfully designed and tested its first drone-carried dropsonde, or meteorological data monitor, to carry out meteorological observations. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING — China has successfully designed and tested its first drone-carried dropsonde, or meteorological data monitor, to carry out meteorological observations.

The unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) will carry the dropsonde and drop it at an altitude of 6,000 meters to measure atmospheric profiles as the device falls to the ground.

Launched using a parachute, the dropsonde can descend at a stabilized speed and cut the atmosphere column like a scalpel to gather data such as temperature, humidity, and wind direction and transmit them to ground receiving devices in real time.

The dropsonde carried by UAV was produced by the Second Institute of China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation Limited (CASIC) and the test was run and monitored by the Meteorological Sounding Center of China Meteorological Administration (CMA) in May.

The drone-carried dropsonde is an essential payload for aircraft meteorological sounding, which is more targeted than weather balloons and applied in much wider fields than rocketsonde, said Zhang Xuefen, a researcher at the CMA.

Such dropsondes are small and light and have a high accuracy when applied. Once equipped with a power cord and data wire, these dropsondes can be hung from any part of a drone’s wing, belly or cabin and work stably and reliably between 70 degrees Celsius and minus 90 degrees Celsius.

According to the CASIC, drone-carried dropsondes can be widely used in meteorological emergency, disaster and ecological monitoring and offer a convenient and low-cost option for artificial meteorological observation and response systems in the future.

Photo taken on May 13, 2018 shows the unmanned aircraft vehicle (UAV) carrying the dropsonde, or meteorological data monitor, in Huaibei, East China’s Anhui province. [Photo/Xinhua]

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