Project iHMSD

Information on the Project Integrated Health Management System Demonstrator (iHMSD)

On behalf of the European Space Agency ESA, Meteolabor, CSEM and Team Smartfish developped a glider which has been town with weather balloons up to 32 km above ground level and then released. It has automatically flown a mission, tracked several waypoints and returned to its destination on ground.

During the iHMSD flight tests a total of 31 glider missions where flown:

·         9 copter drop tests in Switzerland

·         13 balloon drop tests in Switzerland

·         9 balloon missions in Sweden

The flight test results in the good Swiss weather of the summer 2015 were very encouraging. Unfortunately,  to apply for a flight permit for higher missions ended up with outrageous requests to perform extremely complex and expensive failure analysis of every sub-component in the vehicle. 

Therefore the high-altitude flights were performed at ESRANGE, Kiruna, Sweden. The point in time in October 2015 was quite adverse because of the reigning weather conditions, specifically strong winds. 

During the Swedish missions, the 1‑kg glider had to fly at times through winds of almost 200 km/h, equivalent to a hurricane of category 4. Nonetheless, several very successful missions could be flown, with the iHMSD vehicle reaching maximum speeds of almost Mach 0.9 and gathering many hours of flight data and video footage.

The strong autumnal winds in north Sweden created a variety of originally unexpected problems and failures. These included broken hotwire cables, landings away from the goal position requiring expensive and time-consuming helicopter rescues and damaged vehicles. In order to cope with the extreme situation, the team struggled passionately to improve the original, good working system on site.

The iHMSD test flights reached a maximum altitude of 32000 meters and supersonic speed (1070 km/h).

Summary of the Final report (pdf)

Video footage of the test Flights in Switzerland and Sweden

Project Organisation:

Meteolabor: Project Management, Weather Balloons, Legal

CSEM: Software and Flight Tests

Team Smartfish: Smartfish Aircraft