A buoyant tornado-probe concept incorporating an inverted lifting device

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National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1973 - Nature - 28 pages
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Addition of an inverted lifting device to a simple balloon probe is shown to make possible low-altitude entry to tornado cores with easier launch conditions than for the simple balloon probe. Balloon-lifter combinations are particularly suitable for penetration of tornadoes with average to strong circulation, but tornadoes of less than average circulation which are inaccessible to simple balloon probes become accessible. The increased launch radius which is needed for access to tornadoes over a wide range of circulation results in entry times of about 3 minutes. For a simple balloon probe the uninflated balloon must be first dropped on, or near, the track of the tornado from a safe distance. The increase in typical launch radius from about 0.75 kilometer to slightly over 1.0 kilometer with a balloon-lifter combination suggests that a direct air launch may be feasible.

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