CHAPA hosts second industrial workshop

Posted on 29 October 2019

The thriving High Altitude Platform (HAP) community reunited at York again to attend the second industry focused workshop hosted by the Centre for High Altitude Platform Applications (CHAPA) on 17 September 2019.

The event at CHAPA demonstrated that HAP manufacturers and ground facility providers are making significant technological and commercial progress.

Andy Elson of Elson Space shared the current progress of their Stratoport, a launch site for HAPs in Spain, with favourable regulation and logistic infrastructure. Martin Curwen of BAE Systems presented the latest details of the long-endurance PHASA-35 HAP which has the similar wingspan as a Boeing-737. Daniel Doulton of Sceye offered an insight into the highly innovative Sceye High Altitude Airship and her hanger. Markus Knapek of optical terminal manufacturer, Mynaric showed their laser communication systems which can deliver high-speed data links of more than 1Gbps between aerial platforms or down to the ground.

With HAP industry on the brink of full-scale commercialisation, Nancy Graham of Graham Aerospace, and a former regional director of the FAA, highlighted the benefits of HAP manufacturers, wireless service operators, regulators and aviation authorities working together to set out industry friendly regulations for the stratosphere.

The universities are at the forefront of developing the technologies that can be used on HAPs. David Grace and Steve Arum from University of York presented the methods to significantly extend the wireless signal coverage from HAPs. Christoph Wildfeuer of FHNW, Switzerland showed the light-weight free space optical system practically tested at stratosphere on a weather balloon. Yi Chu from University of York and Ross Donaldson of Heriot-Watt University showcased how the emerging technology of quantum key distribution could be delivered from HAPs. Abdulkarim Oloyede a Vice-Chair ITU-Development Group shared the visions and benefits of providing large-scale wireless broadband coverage using HAPs to underserved areas in Africa.

A highlight of the day was the demonstration of York’s award winning Software Defined Radio Helikite aerial platform testbed which allows rapid prototyping of wireless systems.  This took place on the footprint of the York Global Initiative for Safe Autonomy building which will be completed in 2021, which will house York’s new HAP based experimental facilities.