Jointly developed communications payload enables video call during Sunglider’s stratospheric test flight
SoftBank Corp.’s HAPSMobile Inc. (“HAPSMobile”) and Alphabet’s Loon LLC (“Loon”) today announced they successfully tested their jointly developed communications payload in the stratosphere on HAPSMobile’s “Sunglider,” a solar-powered unmanned aircraft system (UAS). Taking place during Sunglider’s first stratospheric test flight at Spaceport America (SpA) in New Mexico on September 21 MT, the test marked the world’s first successful delivery of LTE connectivity from a fixed-wing High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) autonomous aircraft in the stratosphere.
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Diagram of the payload test (Graphic: Business Wire)
The stratosphere-ready payload used in the test flight was a first-of-its-kind for a fixed-wing, autonomous aircraft-based HAPS to deliver LTE connectivity. Using MIMO technology, the payload enabled LTE connectivity to be delivered continuously for approximately 15 hours during Sunglider’s test flight. The payload performed