Tech Briefs

The Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) is an Earth imaging radar that flies on a Gulf-Stream Jet. Its mission is to collect data for NASA scientists who are using Synthetic Aperture Radar to develop methods for monitoring changes in the Earth’s surface. As with many other technologies, there is always the possibility of technological or human errors. Since smartphones are mobile, common, and powerful devices, they can be used to reduce the possibility of operator error when the radar is being configured for flight.

This iOS application is designed to be secure and user-friendly, and will expedite the flight reservation and radar configuration process. The application queries and updates the UAVSAR database using several server-side Perl scripts to authenticate users, auto-generate files, and gather required information. The app also incorporates Maxell AirStash hardware to transfer the configuration files to the radar, which eliminates the need for less mobile-friendly computer laptop retrieval of configuration files.

The iPhone app can perform the following operations prior to a flight: (1) reserve a flight ID and associate with a flight plan through queries to the UAVSAR database; (2) auto-generate a Twitter message to be sent to the UAVSAR team, notifying them of the impending flight or just completed flight; (3) assign the disks that will be used during the flight; (4) view the UAVSAR flight calendar to insure the correct flight plan is being used; (5) using Maxell AIRSTASH hardware, transfer current radar configuration files from the Web site to the iPhone to radar computer onboard the aircraft; (6) un-reserve a flight reservation if necessary; (7) check availability of disk systems; (8) search and check for airports; and (9) display current weather. For more information, please visit http://uavsar.jpl.nasa.gov.

This work was done by Bruce D. Chapman of Caltech and Farshad Momtaz of the University of California Irvine for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. This software is available for commercial licensing. Please contact Dan Broderick at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Refer to NPO-49254

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