- Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) technology is a rapidly developing technological marketspace. This thesis focuses on micro, tethered, coaxial UASs and the development of an electrically-tethered observation platform (ETOP). The thesis details the current status of the technology as well as current products on the market. Stability considerations, critical when adding a tether to a rotor craft, are presented as well as potential solutions to improve flight qualities. The selected design is a coaxial, tethered micro air vehicle capable of long-running, stable flights with potential applications for use in support of long-endurance missions where increased situational awareness capabilities are advantageous. The design of a structural stabilization system is detailed and the evolution of the vehicle is documented. A flight test plan was designed and applied to determine the performance of each prototype in order to improve vehicle handling characteristics. A ground station system was designed and produced to house critical flight control components as well as to present relevant flight parameters to the user.
Key Words: Unmanned, UAV, UAS, ETOP, Tethered, Coaxial, Rotor Wing, Unmanned Aerial System, Surveillance, Reconnaissance, Situational Awareness, Additive Manufacturing, 3-D Printing