6.2.2020

Development Completed for the Communications Payload for HAWK30 Aircraft

Alphabet’s Loon and SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile Complete Development of Communications Payload for HAWK30 Aircraft – link

Source: SUAS News

Article Headlines

  • Alphabet’s Loon LLC and SoftBank Corp.’s (with Aerovironment) HAPSMobile Inc. announced they successfully developed a communications payload for HAPSMobile’s HAWK30, a solar-powered UAS that flies in the stratosphere
  • The initiative to design and develop the communications payload for the HAWK30 follows an announcement last April between Loon and HAPSMobile where the companies formed a strategic relationship
  • Technical teams from Loon and HAPSMobile worked together to adapt the payload technology already used on Loon’s stratospheric balloons for the HAWK30
  • The effort leveraged Loon’s expertise in building communications payloads that can endure the difficult conditions of the stratosphere for long periods of time, where winds can reach speeds of 100km/h and temperatures can drop to as low as -90 degrees Celsius
  • The payload houses highly accurate antennas that can establish point-to-point (P2P) connections at distances of up to 700 kilometers and carrying data at speeds up to 1Gbps. In order to keep a stable connection, the antenna is designed to rotate as flight vehicles move. On the Loon system, this technology has proven the ability to reliably maintain a stable connection to the ground and nearby flight vehicles. In recent testing, Loon established and maintained a connection among 20 balloons spanning over 4,000 kilometers
  • The communications payload also utilizes a custom-designed LTE system that operates on various 3GPP-compliant frequency bands. The payload allows the HAWK30 to provide a wireless link that enables LTE connectivity directly to standard LTE smartphones and other mobile devices. In combination with the millimeter wave communication system, the Loon payload can serve the internet to a large number of smartphone users at a long distance from existing ground infrastructure

Overview & Comments

  • Additional HAPS programs to be watched out for:
  • Airbus Zephyr – After suffering two safety incidents in 2019 current progress is unknown
  • UAVOS ApusDuo – Completed a test flight of its modified ApusDuo. According to the company, the next step in the HAPS ApusDuo project is the new prototype, with a wingspan of 28 meters, and the ability to carry eight kilograms
  • Aurora Flight Sciences Odysseus – Currently in development with a planned payload of 25 kg with an enormous wingspan of 74 meters
  • BAE Phasa-35 – In collaboration with Prismatic the Persistent High-Altitude Solar Aircraft (hence PHASA) will obtain a 35-meter wingspan and will weigh 150 kg. A quarter scale model (PHASE-8) flew its maiden flight in 2017
  • China’s CAAA Caihong – Obtains a wingspan of over 40. The aircraft performed its maiden flight in 2017

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