University Letter

UND's faculty and staff newsletter

Second annual SOaRS symposium hosted at UND

UND scholars – not to mention scholars from around the nation and globe – had their heads in the clouds this past Tuesday and Wednesday, as military personnel and aerospace industry leaders told them of the most recent technological developments pertaining to aerial operations in the stratosphere.

Which means that technically, their heads were above the clouds.

That’s because the stratosphere sits above the atmosphere’s lowermost layer, the troposphere – the layer where clouds and weather systems form. Starting at an altitude of about 6 to 11 miles (or roughly 32,000 to 60,000 feet), the stratosphere extends upwards to a total of about 30 miles or 158,000 feet before reaching the mesosphere.

The second annual SOaRS or Stratospheric Operations and Research Symposium, held at UND’s Memorial Union on March 12 and 13, brought attendees to Grand Forks from far and wide, with Taiwan, The Netherlands and the United Kingdom among nations represented.  The symposium centered on developments in High Altitude Long Endurance Aircraft (HALE) and High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS, referred to as High Altitude Platform Stations in Europe.)

Robert Kraus, dean of UND’s John D. Odegard School of Aerospace Sciences, emceed the event.

UND President Andrew Armacost welcomed attendees to campus, citing the symposium’s importance as an incubator for innovation and collaboration in the field of unmanned aerial vehicles.

“Events like this are about connection – the very humanity and the ideas that can be generated by pulling such a group of eminent scholars, researchers and practitioners together in an environment like this,” he said. “You are exploring areas that this world needs. Just know that the University of North Dakota is fully engaged as a partner in this work.”

Read the full coverage at UND Today.