Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Koenig, Keith

Committee Member

Walker, Calvin R.

Committee Member

Janus, J. Mark

Date of Degree


Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Open Access


Aerospace Engineering

Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.)


James Worth Bagley College of Engineering


Department of Aerospace Engineering


Micro aerial vehicle development and atmospheric flight on Mars are areas that require research in very low Reynolds number flight. Facilities for studying these problems are not widely available. The upper atmosphere of the Earth, approximately 100,000 feet AGL, is readily available and closely resembles the atmosphere on Mars, in both temperature and density. This low density also allows normal size test geometry with a very low Reynolds number. This solves a problem in micro aerial vehicle development; it can be very difficult to manufacture instrumented test apparatus in the small sizes required for conventional testing. This thesis documents the design, construction, and testing of a glider designed to be released from a weather balloon at 100,000 feet AGL and operate in this environment, collecting airfoil and aircraft performance data. The challenges of designing a vehicle to operate in a low Reynolds number, low temperature environment are addressed.