I-FORCAST (Instrument – Field of Regard Coverage Analysis and Simulation Tool) is a flight planning tool specifically designed for quickly verifying the feasibility and estimating the cost of airborne remote sensing campaigns (see figure). Flights are simulated by being broken into three predefined routing algorithms as necessary: mapping in a snaking pattern, mapping the area around a point target (like a volcano) with a star pattern, and mapping the area between a list of points. The tool has been used to plan missions for radar, lidar, and in-situ atmospheric measuring instruments for a variety of aircraft. It has also been used for global and regional scale campaigns and automatically includes landings when refueling is required.
The software has been compared to the flight times of known commercial aircraft route travel times, as well as a UAVSAR (Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar) campaign, and was within 15% of the actual flight time. Most of the discrepancy is due to non-optimal flight paths taken by actual aircraft to avoid restricted airspace and used to follow landing and take-off corridors.
This work was done by Bogdan Oaida, Mohammed O. Khan, and Michael B. Mercury of Caltech for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
This Brief includes a Technical Support Package (TSP).
I-FORCAST: Rapid Flight Planning Tool (reference NPO-48127) is currently available for download from the TSP library.
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