Solar Falcon Instrument Suite for Hurricanes

The World’s Most Complete Measurement Platform – Includes Damage Assessment

Hurricane Instrument Package and Analytics Capabilities

Coupling our Solar Falcon platform with a unique Sensor Suite and unique Analytics Capability

Sensor Suite

Visible and Infrared cameras – off the shelf depending on the application

LWIR Hypercube – ECT Temp, wind speed as a function of altitude

Geiger-mode Lidar:  – ECT altitude, 3D measurements

  • MIT/Lincoln Lab spinout, high sensitivity (100x less light required): longer standoff

Gimbal for pointing and tracking 

25 cm diameter telescope – high resolution imaging 


  • Deployed In-situ sensors, the accepted standard for measuring sea level pressure and winds

CYGNSS/GPS  Receiver – wind speed at the surface 

Doppler Radar: Under development by MIT (TWAI Science Advisory Board)

TWAI will deploy a customized sensor suite on Solar Falcon that incorporate optimal combinations of sensors for specific missions

TWAI instrument portfolio is based on proprietary solutions being prototyped at MIT labs and corporate partners; Unique combination of high sensitivity, low power and light weight.

Analytics Capability

TWAI analytics team is leveraging 30 plus years of remote sensing analysis and space-based, aircraft-based sensor processing

Complex stereo reconstruction from pseudo-stereo observations

Satellite imagery processing and analysis

Automatic target recognition using both parametric and non-parametric means

Unique Thermodynamic Hurricane Model

  • Developed by MIT team; Major innovation: measure TC properties as a Carnot engine; resulting in far better peak wind speed and storm surge forecasts. Equates to 5X reduction of uncertainty in predicted damage effects Noise reduction, image filtering and reconstruction

Operate as much as 50+ GB of raw data per day for multiple sensors

Adapt well-established or TWAI-developed algorithms in image processing

  • Scene clutter suppression methods
  • Noise reduction, image filtering and reconstruction
  • Image manipulation, rectification and mosaic building
  • 3D scene reconstruction
  • Multispectral imaging
  • Instrument performance simulation and engineering
  • Processing and analysis of large volumes of data
  • Scene analysis and statistics


SensorsWeight (kg)Power (w)Performance
Geiger-mode Lidar 5120Altitude of Eye-wall, Cloud Tops, <100 meters*
LWIR Sensor715ECT Temp to < 1K accuracy*
Gimbal for telescope510Pointing FOV off- nadir
25 cm diameter telescope131010 cm resolution at nadir
Dropsondes – not needed after validating retrieval of central sea level pressure1510In-situ measure of sea level pressure, wind velocities
CYGNSS/GPS Receiver105Measure surface winds: 2 m/sec up thru at least Cat 3

Potential Launch Sites and Range to TCs

  • The winds at 20 km are consistently east to west at 30 to 50 km/hr
  • Depicted below are possible launch site locations for North America, left, and West Pacific, right, shown with the 2005 history of tropical cyclone tracks
  • The area covered assumes a range of 3000 km biased by the wind

Atlantic Basin and Eastern Pacific

Australia, Pacific Rim