Osri Balloon Surveillance System Operations and Test Results

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  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    OSRIBalloonBasedSpillSurveillanceSystemOperationsandTestingResults

    ReporttoPrinceWilliamSoundRegionalCitizensAdvisoryCouncil

    June2011

    W.ScottPegauResearchProgramManager,OilSpillRecoveryInstitute

    ThisreportincludescontributionsfromPrinceWilliamSoundRegionalCitizensAdvisoryCouncil,BPExplorationAlaska,Inc.,andAlaskaCleanSea,PrinceWilliamSoundScienceCenter,andtheOilSpillRecoveryInstitute.

  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    ContentsOverview ......................................................................................................................................................2

    Operationsregulations.................................................................................................................................5

    Assembly ......................................................................................................................................................8

    Deployment................................................................................................................................................11

    Maintenance ..............................................................................................................................................14

    Applications................................................................................................................................................15

    Testing ........................................................................................................................................................15

    Lessonslearned ..........................................................................................................................................22

    Futurework ................................................................................................................................................24

    Systemselectionconsiderations ................................................................................................................25

    BestAvailableTechnologyselectioncriteria ..............................................................................................28

    OverviewThisdocumentisdesignedtodescribeinmoredetailtheuseandoperationofaballoonsurveillancesystem.AsystemwaspurchasedbythePrinceWilliamSoundScienceCenter(PWSSC)in2009forthepurposeoftestingitsapplicabilityforoilspillsurveillance.Theoriginalconceptforthesystemwasanoutputofaworkshoptitled,Hydrocarbonsensorsforoilspillpreventionandresponse(http://www.pwsosri.org/publications/Hydrocarbon%20Sensors.pdf)thatwasjointlysponsoredbytheOilSpillRecoveryInstitute(OSRI)andtheAllianceforCoastalTechnology.Thedesirewastodevelopasystemtoprovideaerialobservationcapabilitywithinaresponsefleet.Thetetheredballoonsystemwaschosenbecauseithassimplerpermittingrequirementsandoperationsneedsthanunmannedaerialvehicles(UAV).ThisdocumentfocusesonthesystemownedbythePrinceWilliamSoundScienceCenterwithdiscussionaboutothersystemsasapplicable.Thereareothervendorsofballoonsandcamerasystems.Someadditionalinformationonalternativesystemsisprovidedinthesectiononselectioncriterialaterinthisdocument.Thisdocumentbuildsupontheoperationmanualprovidedbythemanufacturer,alessonslearneddocumentfromBrianGreenofAlaskaCleanSeasrelatedtotestingdonewithhim,andlessonslearnedfromotherdeployments.Itbenefitedfromtheinputofallpartiesinvolvedinthetestinginparticular,BrianGreen(ACS),JeremyRobida(PWSRCAC),andReginaWard(BPExplorationAlaska).

    ThesystemownedbyPWSSCwasselectedbasedonthefollowingcriteria.

  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    1. Operateona50footfishingvessel.Thesearetypicallyseinersthathave25feetofflatopendeck.

    2. Operateinrelativewindspeedsof30knots.3. Viewanareaof2milesaroundtheship.Furtherisbetter.4. Beabletoresolvepatchesonthewaterof3metersindiameterattwomilerange.5. Transmittheimagestothemothervessel.Ifpossibletotransmittosurroundingrecovery

    vesselsthatwouldbebeneficial.6. Athermalinfraredcamerasystemisdesired.Wewouldliketobeabletoexchangeforaregular

    cameraduringthedayorhaveacombinedsystem.7. Thesystemshouldbedeployableinlightrain.Wewouldliketoexplorethelimitsatsubfreezing

    temperatures.Inthefuturewewouldliketodeployat40degrees,butwewillstartwithtemperaturesabovefreezing.

    8. Expectedcloudceilingis500feet.Thisisareasonablelimitingcase,butwewillexplorethetradeoffsofneedingtoputthesystemhigher.

    9. Imageupdateatleastevery15seconds,butmorerapidispreferred.10. Georeferencedimageryisdesired,butnotrequiredatthistime.

    ThesystemselectedbyPWSSCincludesaSkyDoctwoplymodel18aerostatwithaLatitudeEngineeringParacamvisibleandinfraredvideocamerasystem.TheSkyDocaerostatisakitestyleballoon(Figure1)thatallowsittogainliftwithincreasingwindspeedandisratedforwindsupto80knots.Amodel18requires969cubicfeetofheliumtofill.ThePWSSCsystemincludesa3milballooncontainedinanyloncover.Filleditisapproximately14feetindiameterand9feetinheightwith24poundsofliftinnowind.Theamountofliftincreasesrapidlywithwindspeed.Threecontrollinesattachtoatetherthatthenrunstotheship.ThePWSSCtetherisstrictlyastrengthmember;howeverothertetherscanincludeelectricalcablestosupplypowerorcommunicationswiththecamera.Moreinformationcanbefoundat:http://www.skydocballoon.com/

    Figure1.Theredportionistheballoonthatisfilledwithhelium.Ithasaflattenedshapeandwhenthereiswindthesail(whiteclothbelowtheballoon)orientstheballoonintothewind.Theballoonwillalsotiltbackwardsallowingtheflatterbottomsectiontoactasakitewiththesailfunctioningasthetailofthekite.

  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    FortherecenttestinginPrinceWilliamSoundtheBPExplorationAlaska,Inc.sSkyDocsingleplymodel15aerostatwasused.Amodel15requires560cufeetofheliumtofill.Filleditisapproximately12feetindiameterand8feetinheightwith22poundsofliftinnowind.TheBPballoonwasa3milballoonwithoutacover.TherewasachangeindesignandmanufacturerusedbySkyDocbetweenthepurchaseofthePWSSCballoonandtheBPballoon.TheBPballoonhasasingleseambetweenhemispheresversusthemultipleverticalseemsinthePWSSCballoon.Thebasicfunctionalityoftheballoonsdidnotchange,however.

    TheLatitudeEngineeringParacamsystemusedinthePWSSCsystemincludesaCloudCapTASE200visibleandinfraredcameraandgimbalsystemthatprovidespanandtilt,lithiumbattery,gps,andwirelesstransmissionsystemforcommunicationswiththeoperatingvessel.AdeckunitconnectedtoacomputerwithGimbalUIorViewpointsoftwareprovidesthemeanstocontrolthecameraandviewandrecordthevideosignal(Figure2).Manyaspectsofthecamerasystemcanbeselectedatpurchaseorchangedbythemanufacturer.Theseincludethestrengthofcommunicationsystem,focallengthofthecameralenses,andabilitytohavethesystemservemultiplereceivingstations.ThesystemtestedisbuiltuponaCloudCapTASE200systemwithaSonyFCBEX980visiblecamera(fullcolorand20xzoom)andaFLIRPhoton320IRcamerawith35mmlens(2xzoom).Thecommunicationssystemissetupshortrangeandforonereceivingstation.Communicationsareexpecteduptofivemilesalonglineofsightwithoursystem.Limitedextensionofcommunicationrangecanbeachievedbychangingtheantennasonthedecksystem,thecamera,orboth.Batterylifeisexpectedtobeeighthours.Thereistheabilitytoconnecttoexternalpowerandcommunicationsifnecessary,butPWSSCdoesnotowntheappropriatetethercable.Thecamerasystemisattachedtoasupportcradlethatisthenconnectedtothethreecontrolcablesoftheballoon.Thegimbalalsohasonboardimagestabilizationbuiltsoastohelpsteadythevideofeedimages.Thegimbalallowsforviewing360horizontalpanningandtiltfromstraightdownuptothecameraframe.Moreinformationcanbefoundat:http://www.latitudeengineering.net/index.php/products/paracam.html

    ThecameraoriginallycamewithGimbalUIasthecontrolsoftware.Inthatsoftwareitispossibletoviewthevideoalongwithseveralcharacteristicsofthecamerasuchasthepointingangleandviewpositionontheground.Thecalculationoftheviewpositionrequiresthatadigitalelevationmodelbedownloadedpriortooperationthatcoverstheareathattheballoonisbeingoperatedin.AnewerversionofsoftwarecalledViewpointhasallofthefeaturesofGimbalUI,butisalsoabletomaptheviewinglocation(Figure2)toprovideamoreintuitivefeelwhencontrollingthecameraposition.Thecameraviewcanbeadjustedusingeitherthegamecontrollerorusingamouseandkeystrokes.Itispossibletoclickonalocationandthecamerawilladjustitselftothatpointandtrytoremainfocusedonit.Thereareseveraltypesofmaplayersthatcanbedownloadedfromthewebfordisplayinginthemapview.Thesecanbeverylargefilesandneedtobedownloadedbeforedeployingthesensor.

    Whentherecordfunctioninthesoftwareisactivateditrecordsallofthevideoandcontrolinformationintoaseriesoffilesaboutonesecondinlength.Thisallowstheentirevideotobereplayedandthedisplayscanbechangedtoexaminedifferentpiecesofinformationrecordedbythesystem.Thesmallfilesalsoprovidethepotentialforsendingpartofthevideosignalthroughtheinternettootherlocations.

  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    Figure2.ShownisascreenshotoftheViewpointsoftware.Theleftpanelshowsthepointbeingviewed(redcircle).Therightshowsthevideoandsomeofthecameracharacteristics.Forinstancethezoomlevelisinthebottomright.Otherviewsareavailablethatgivemoreinformationaboutthecameraandareabeingviewed.

    Thesystemwasdevelopedwiththeideaofconnectingtoashipwithawinchorcapstansystemtodeploytheballoon.Ithasalsobeendeployedfromatruckforobservationsoverland.Awinchsystemisrequiredastheballoonliftwillexceedthecapabilitytocontrolitbyhandatwindspeedsaslowas10knots.

    OperationsregulationsOperationrestrictionsarelistedinFederalAviationAdministrationCFR14Part101.

    Title14:AeronauticsandSpacePART101MOOREDBALLOONS,KITES,AMATEURROCKETSANDUNMANNEDFREEBALLOONS

    SubpartBMooredBalloonsandKites

    Source:DocketNo.1580,28FR6722,June29,1963,unlessotherwisenoted.

    101.11Applicability.

  • 700.431.110601.OSRIBalloon

    Thissubpartappliestotheoperationofmooredballoonsandkites.However,apersonoperatingamooredballoonorkitewithinarestrictedareamustcomplyonlywith101.19andwithadditional