HAPS – missions to the edge of space to watch over Earth

Airbus Zephyr S

Airbus Zephyr S

Additionally, ESA is performing other HAPS studies through its Discovery and Preparation Programme, identifying how HAPS could bring value to satellite communications and Earth observation in terms of performance or cost, to highlight gaps in current HAPS technologies, and plan moves towards operational services.

“HAPS could give us prolonged high-resolution coverage of specific regions of Earth,” explains Juan Lizarraga Cubillos, leading both studies from ESA. “They could also help provide tactica and emergency communications and broadband internet services.”

By combining the expertise of telecommunications company HISPASAT and aircraft maker Airbus, the TELEO – High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellites for Telecommunication and Complementary Space Applications – the team found that aerodynamic HAPS, taking the form of aircraft, could complement traditional satellite networks.

HAPS could also improve security for major events – for example, the Olympic Games or G7 meetings– and emergency situations, by providing secure communication bubbles over areas of interest.

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