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Navajo - Next Generation Balloon and LTA Performance Model


Global Aerospace Corporation is developing an innovative, new trajectory and performance tool for Earth and planetary balloons and lighter-than-air (LTA) vehicle systems, called Navajo. The key innovations of Navajo are integrated vertical and horizontal trajectory modeling, application to Earth and planetary balloons and LTA systems, a graphical user interface, and a computer-platform-independent software package. Additional innovations are (a) the decoupling of environment and balloon trajectory models to allow a given balloon design to be flown in any number of environments with different levels of fidelity (b) the opportunity for integration of safety analysis of Earth balloon flights for in-flight and pre-flight safety calculations, (c) improved fidelity of thermal models, and (d) an extensible application architecture to allow different balloon designs and new environments. Navajo has been benchmarked with the current SINBAD code used by many balloon operators. Navajo provides a more accurate simulation than SINBAD and doesn’t require the usual fudge factors to provide good performance predictions

Navajo is a new, advanced, and modern simulation and analysis tool to enable the development of new balloon and LTA technologies for Earth and planetary applications.

Purchasing Navajo Software

A non-Beta-test version of Navajo is available for purchase. The current version of Navajo supports conventional, zero-pressure, polyethylene balloons and a limited set of environments. Additional balloon or LTA systems and environments can be added via plug-ins that could be developed by GAC working with a customer. Potential Navajo customers include those organizations and individuals that study, design, fabricate, fly, or analyze Earth tropospheric, Earth stratospheric, or planetary balloons and lighter-than-air systems (LTAs). Envisioned uses for Navajo include:

  • fine-tune models to better predict balloon or LTA vehicle performance;
  • develop balloon platform component designs, such as valve, ballast or propulsion systems;
  • develop new campaign and mission concepts;
  • perform detailed, pre-flight analyses of launch trajectories;
  • develop and analyze planetary balloon mission concepts; and
  • evaluate in-flight vehicles for safety and mission sequencing options.