Germany: Airbus Defence and Space’s Zephyr 7 high altitude pseudo satellite (HAPS) has cleared a long endurance winter test and became the first of its type to receive UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) military registration.
Zephyr 7 set a new benchmark for this class of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) through 11 days of non-stop flight, in winter weather conditions with a new primary payload, including flight controlled through satellite communications.
Jens Federhen, Head of the Airbus HAPS programme, said, "During this most recent flight of the Airbus Zephyr, we successfully demonstrated a number of advancements that are critical to achieving the operational readiness of the technology and that increase its operational value for our customers."
This latest flight was undertaken in the Southern Hemisphere winter so the aircraft had to show it could remain operational through the longer nights, re-charge solar batteries amply in the shorter periods of daylight and cope with the harsher weather conditions.
Both observation and communication are appealing markets for HAPS and it is should prove a cheap and reliable alternative to blasting things into orbit.
Source: Airbus Defence and Space