Airbus delivers connectivity through HAPS
July 19, 2022
By Chris Forrester
Airbus has launched a connectivity services business through the creation of a dedicated HAPS (High Altitude Platform Station) services business based around Zephyr, Airbus’ HAPS technology platform.
Airbus says this new business will help enable it to industrialise rapidly and begin serving a substantial total addressable market, providing low-latency connectivity services from the stratosphere for telecommunications and Earth observation applications.
The new business is a subsidiary of Airbus Defence and Space and Samer Halawi, former CCO at Intelsat, has been appointed as CEO.
“With thousands of flight hours in the stratosphere and an admirable entrepreneurial spirit, the Zephyr team are well placed to develop future connectivity services. This is an exciting time for the team, building on our success with the leading HAPS, and it is now time for the next step,” said Halawi. “Our connectivity services will provide a viable alternative and complement to terrestrial and satellite-based connectivity solutions, allowing for the first time low-latency and direct-to-device connectivity across vast geographies, and economically. Our sustainable technology allows us to save and improve people’s lives whilst ensuring a better outcome for our planet.”
With over 3.7 billion people unserved or severely underserved by current terrestrial and space-based telecommunications networks, Airbus and Zephyr are reimagining connectivity, and working towards bridging the digital divide, offering state of the art connectivity service to commercial, defence and institutional customers across the globe.
Google had a similar concept (its ‘Project Loon’) but Alphabet’s Loon division was wound down in January 2021 despite extensive testing over East Africa and in areas of the world badly affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters.