Building a High Altitude Mapping Platform

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Now that we’ve closed on the purchase on a Lear 35 we have started the process of adapting it into a high altitude, high speed platform for mapping, monitoring, and specialized remote sensing missions.

Watch the video here (3:00):

The Lear 35

The Lear 35 is an ideal platform for remote sensing, it’s fast, stable, can fly at high altitudes, and remain in the air for a long time. This aircraft is large enough to carry a sensor payload, and is small enough that it’s efficient in the air giving it a long range and flight duration. Through this process we’re modifying a normal corporate jet into a specialized asset for custom remote sensing missions.

The demand for remotely sensed data is increasing exponentially, and this sort of high-altitude, high-speed mapping system is in high demand by scientists and early stage space companies. This aircraft will be able to simulate near-space conditions, flying very high, very fast, and covering a lot of ground in a flight. The Lear can sustain flight at 40,000 ft (12,000m) and 400 kn (750 km/h) for between five and six hours.

Aircraft Modifications

Turning a normal corporate jet into a specialized remote sensing system is no minor task.

First we’re adding mid-fuselage dual camera ports which will allow us to carry two payloads simultaneously. This modification requires the camera boxes to be pre-fabricated and then installed to the fuselage.

Second, we’re adding delta fins the rear of the aircraft. These delta fins improve the already stable nature of the Lear 35. Stability in a remote sensing platform leads to improved ground imaging and more consistent data out of the sensor system.

Third, we’re extending the tip tanks so that we can carry more fuel. By increasing the fuel load, we’ll have more time on station and can extend the duration of our specialized airborne remote sensing missions.

Creating Possibilities with our Mapping Platform

This sort of dual port, high altitude, airborne platform is unique on the commercial market – to our knowledge there aren’t any other systems like this available outside of military and defense applications. We’re excited to be bringing this system to the market and keen to work with clients who are developing unique technology into new markets.

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