Automated Radiosonde Launcher
The Automated Radiosonde Launcher (ARL) is a low cost system that permits unattended upper air observations. It is a robust and fault-tolerant system that automates radiosonde observations. It is compatible with a variety of commercial radiosondes. The ARL is ideal for remote locations, manpower limited operations, and mobile requirements.
The ARL takes a manually intensive task and reduces it to a periodic maintenance routine. Because it automates every step in the launch process, personnel are free to perform more important value-added tasks, and human errors are eliminated.
Once loaded, the ARL system automatically:
The system software runs on a core CPU running YESDAQ, a mySQL-based database with ODBC connectivity. The software manages ground support equipment and handles paper tapes. Because it provides web access to upper air data and system status, it can be remotely controlled. For example, with the click of a mouse, remote users can optionally control the release of a balloon for compliance with ATC/controlled airspace regulations. The software architecture permits hundreds of remote ARL stations to be centrally controlled.
Radiosondes and expendables including helium gas, batteries and up to 600g balloons are loaded into the system. Each "channel" holds a single radiosonde in a launch carrier that manages the balloon inflation process and battery wetting. Expendables can be stored on or off site.
Flight Data Facility
At the center of the system is the Auto Launcher Executive (ALEX) a TCP/IP based remote control MS-Windows application that buffers you from the control language the core embedded controller uses to talk to the METHUB Met Data Receiver. Once released, the METHUB receives and stores in-flight data. Once stored, radiosonde data is displayed in a web browser locally on a PC or workstation in a variety of meteorological formats. Skew-T charts, linear Pressure, Temperature, Humidity (PTU) or text displays are supported.
Managing a network of upper air sites for an extended period of time produces a sizable data repository. Upper air data are collected and stored for later display or further analysis in YESDAQ, a mySQL-based open source relational database supporting ODBC, JDBC, Perl and native mySQL driver connectivity. System profiles are stored permitting site quality control.
ARL Launch Sequence Diagram
The ARL was developed in partnership with the US Dept of Energy and NOAA.