Altitude Aeronautical Platforms
Affordable bandwidth will be as essential to the Information Revolution in
the21 st century as inexpensive power was to the Industrial Revolution in the
18 th and 19 th centuries. Today's global communications infrastructures of landlines,
cellular towers, and satellites are inadequately equipped to support the increasing
worldwide demand for faster, better, and less expensive service. At a time when
conventional ground and satellite systems are facing increasing obstacles and
spiraling costs, a low cost solution is being advocated.
paper focuses on airborne platforms- airships, planes, helicopters or some hybrid
solutions which could operate at stratospheric altitudes for significant periods
of time, be low cost and be capable of carrying sizable multipurpose communications
payloads. This report briefly presents an overview about the internal architecture
of a High Altitude Aeronautical Platform and the various HAAPS projects.
Altitude Aeronautical Platform Stations (HAAPS) is the name of a technology for
providing wireless narrowband and broadband telecommunication services as well
as broadcasting services with either airships or aircrafts. The HAAPS are operating
at altitudes between 3 to 22 km. A HAPS shall be able to cover a service area
of up to 1'000 km diameter, depending on the minimum elevation angle accepted
from the user's location. The platforms may be airplanes or airships (essentially
balloons) and may be manned or un-manned with autonomous operation coupled with
remote control from the ground. While the term HAP may not have a rigid definition,
we take it to mean a solar-powered and unmanned airplane or airship, capable of
long endurance on-station -possibly several years.
types of platform options exist: SkyStation, the Japanese Stratospheric
Platform Project, the European Space Agency (ESA) and others suggest the use of
airships/blimps/dirigibles. These will be stationed at 21km and are expected to
remain aloft for about 5 years. Angel Technologies (HALO), AeroVironment/
NASA (Helios) and the European Union (Heliplat) propose the use of high altitude
long endurance aircraft. The aircraft are either engine or solar powered and are
stationed at 16km (HALO) or 21km (Helios). Helios is expected to stay aloft for
a minimum of 6 months whereas HALO will have 3 aircraft flying in 8- hour shifts.
Platforms Wireless International is implementing a tethered aerostat situated
A high altitude telecommunication
system comprises an airborne platform - typically at high atmospheric or stratospheric
altitudes - with a telecommunications payload, and associated ground station telecommunications
equipment. The combination of altitude, payload capability, and power supply capability
makes it ideal to serve new and metropolitan areas with advanced telecommunications
services such as broadband access and regional broadcasting.
for applications are virtually unlimited. The possibilities range from narrowband
services such as paging and mobile voice to interactive broadband services such
as multimedia and video conferencing. For future telecommunications operators
such a platform could provide blanket coverage from day one with the added advantage
of not being limited to a single service. Where little or unreliable infrastructure
exists, traffic could be switched through air via the HAPS platform. Technically,
the concept offers a solution to the propagation and rollout problems of terrestrial
infrastructure and capacity and cost problems of satellite networks.
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