Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Eric Mehiel


Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are a growing asset. Currently UAS are on the cutting edge with resources being spent developing the capabilities mostly for military use. This project is intended to create a system for non-defense customers. Specifically, the Operationally Responsive Aircraft (ORA) will appeal to academic institutions, individual consumers, future customers new to the UAS industry, as well as anybody trying to get airtime for custom sensors.

The system developed in this project utilizes dual aluminum external payload bays attached to a ParkZone Radian aircraft. Each external payload bay can contain approximately 500 $\text{cm}^3$, with a height and width limit of 4.1 cm and 11.0 cm respectively. The custom sensors must weigh less than or equal to 3.2 lbs combined. The external payload bays were designed to hold an imaging payload which produces a composite map of the land surveyed. The system incorporates an Arduino Uno, SD Shield, as well as a CMOS camera and board. The processor saves individual images to an SD card. Once the aircraft has landed, the operator combines the images with Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor to create the composite map. This imaging payload has a NIIRS value of 4.0 +/- 0.4, which is equivalent to identifying a basketball court within a residential environment.