The Design Fabrication and Flight Testing of an Academic Research Platform for High Resolution Terrain Imaging
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This thesis addresses the design, construction, and flight testing of an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) created to serve as a testbed for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) research topics that require the rapid acquisition and processing of high resolution aerial imagery and are to be performed by academic research institutions. An analysis of the requirements of various ISR research applications and the practical limitations of academic research yields a consolidated set of requirements by which the UAS is designed. An iterative design process is used to transition from these requirements to cycles of component selection, systems integration, flight tests, diagnostics, and subsystem redesign. The resulting UAS is designed as an academic research platform to support a variety of ISR research applications ranging from human machine interaction with UAS technology to orthorectified mosaic imaging. The lessons learned are provided to enable future researchers to create similar systems.