FaLling Aerogel Re-entry Experiment (FLARE)

Project Description: 

FLARE is an Aerospace Engineering Sciences graduate project at the University of Colorado, Boulder in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHUAPL).  The project goal is to research and design a novel cost effective solution for performing high-altitude atmospheric research (50-100 km) using lightweight reusable probes. In order to accomplish this, FLARE dropsondes will incorporate off-the-shelf, miniature global positioning system (GPS) transmitting/receiving equipment encapsulated within an extremely low-density polymer aerogel. These probes can be launched using a custom deployer at the apogee of any commercial  suborbital spacecraft with an initial focus on Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket. The project goal for the 2022/23 academic year is to mature the technology readiness level (TRL) of a preliminary design  for dropsondes and external dispensers, and to develop and deliver a fully-operational system prototype that can be  integrated with the JHUAPL developed JANUS system for power and data control.


Collaborator: Todd Smith & Larray Paxton from the John Hopkins University


Advisor: Tomoko Matsuo 


Research Assistant: Valerie Svaldi 


PM: Aaron Pickens


Team Roster: Aaron Pickens, Moe Suemura, Hunter Singh


Project Files: 

-System Concept Review:SCR

-Preliminary Design Review: PDR