Thales to Demonstrate Stratospheric Balloon for 4G/5G Telecom Applications in Spain

Hispasat, the Spanish satellite communications operator, and Thales Alenia Space, the joint venture between Thales (67%) and Leonardo (33 %), are developing a stratospheric balloon demonstration for 4G/5G telecom applications. Scheduled for October 2018 in southern Spain, the demonstration will test 4G/5G applications by allowing direct communications between smartphones and a High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) – a stratospheric balloon in this case.

To match the early interest of Hispasat for the innovative market of HAPS, Thales Alenia Space, serving as prime contractor for this demonstration and offering its payload expertise of 4G/5G telecommunication missions, is teaming up with Spanish company Zero 2 Infinity, S.L., which will provide the stratospheric balloon, while Thales Alenia Space is developing the future full-scale stratospheric airship, Stratobus.

Stratospheric solutions offer greater operational flexibility and agility, allowing them to immediately meet communication and connectivity needs with an infrastructure that provides a broadband solution with minimum delay, while avoiding all technical and economical limitations derived from a rocket launch. Moreover, this solution entails a smaller environmental footprint than satellites, which is an additional advantage.