Advanced Television

Airbus sells Zephyr HAPS system to Space Compass

November 8, 2022

By Chris Forrester

Airbus has signed a Letter of Intent for its Zephyr HAPS Connectivity Business with Space Compass of Japan for a cooperation agreement to service the Japanese market with mobile connectivity and earth observation services from the stratosphere.

The Zephyr system is a very high aircraft (HAPS/High Altitude Platform System) which can stay aloft for months.

Samer Halawi, CEO of Airbus HAPS, commented: “Our dedicated team will be working closely with Space Compass to offer 4G/5G low-latency mobile services, at unprecedented economics. Our innovative, record-breaking, green-energy-powered, platform is attracting interest from multiple mobile network operators and satellite and other service providers globally”.

Space Compass was established as a 50/50 joint-venture earlier in 2022 by Japanese telco NTT and satellite operator SkyPerfect JSAT. In April the company stated: “The joint venture will take on the challenge of building new infrastructures in space, where business led by the private sector is expected to grow in the future, and contribute to the creation of a sustainable society.”

Space Compass has HAPS systems very much in its planning. The company said: “It is possible to provide highly reliable communication in times of disaster, high-capacity communication for ships and aircraft, and communications services for distant islands and remote areas. Mobile carriers can improve the overall cost-effectiveness and energy efficiency of their mobile networks by combining HAPSs with an increase in the number of their terrestrial base stations to expand their service coverage.”

“Airbus HAPS is an Airbus subsidiary, which intends to provide new environmentally-friendly services from its stratospheric-operating, Zephyr solar-powered aircraft for Mobile Connectivity, Platform Mobility, Earth Observation and for Government applications. With the ability to provide low-latency 4G/5G services, Zephyr acts as a tower in the sky, complementing terrestrial networks, and providing MNOs with a profitable solution to serve rural and remote areas as well as an emergency response,” said Airbus.

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