High-Altitude Platforms — Present Situation and Technology Trends
Keywords:High Altitude Platform, High Altitude Airship, Stratospheric Satellite, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, Technological Challenges, Technology Trends
AbstractHigh-altitude platforms (HAPs) are aircraft, usually unmanned airships or airplanes positioned above 20 km, in the stratosphere, in order to compose a telecommunications network or perform remote sensing. In the 1990 and 2000 decades, several projects were launched, but very few had continued. In 2014, 2 major Internet companies (Google and Facebook) announced investments in new HAP projects to provide Internet access in regions without communication infrastructure (terrestrial or satellite), bringing back attention to the development of HAP. This article aims to survey the history of HAPs, the current state-of-the-art (April 2016), technology trends and challenges. The main focus of this review will be on technologies directly related to the aerial platform, inserted in the aeronautical engineering field of knowledge, not detailing aspects of the telecommunications area.
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