HAPSMobile Inc., a subsidiary of SoftBank, has announced the fourth successful test flight of its “Sunglider” solar-powered high-altitude platform system (HAPS). HAPS (High Altitude Platform System) are the radio stations operating in the stratosphere with an aim to provide wireless connectivity or perform remote sensing in isolated areas like mountains, coastal and desert areas. The flight took place on July 23, 2020 (PT) at Spaceport America (“SpA”) in New Mexico. With all basic aircraft tests for the unmanned aircraft system (UAS) now complete, HAPSMobile will proceed with preparations for stratospheric test flights.
In this test flight, Sunglider, the newly renamed UAS designed for stratospheric telecommunications platforms, reached altitudes higher than those of previous flights and maintained high altitudes for a long duration. Sunglider also successfully passed all test points, including flight speed changes, steep turns, automated flight control in the event of interrupted communications with the Ground Control System, and in-flight balance control.
In addition to the Hawaiian island of Lanai, HAPSMobile built a new test site at SpA as part of its mid- to long-term business plan. Since SpA offers flexibility in coordinating test flight schedules, there will be opportunities to conduct test flights with greater frequency and more freedom to conduct various types of tests. HAPSMobile also plans to conduct stratospheric test flights at SpA.
Click here to read more about high-altitude platform systems (HAPS).