Airbus Defence and Space has opened what it calls “the world’s first High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) flight base” in Wyndham, Western Australia.
This site will be the launch site for the company’s Zephyr HAPS unmanned system. The company said the site was chosen due to its largely unrestricted airspace and reliable weather.
Zephyr is a solar electric, stratospheric UAV which runs exclusively on solar power, above the weather and conventional air traffic. Airbus says it complements satellites, UAVs and manned aircraft “to provide persistent local satellite-like services”.
Jana Rosenmann, Head of Unmanned Aerial Systems at Airbus said: “The official opening of the Airbus Wyndham launch site in Western Australia, the world’s first operational HAPS site, marks the start of a new era for Zephyr. We are proud to see Australia become part of the Zephyr operational network. The site is our gateway to the stratosphere and will be the main flight base for Zephyr.”
Premier of Western Australia, Mark McGowan, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Airbus team and their Zephyr project to Western Australia. This is the culmination of almost a year of hard work by Airbus and my Government to bring this exciting and innovative technology to our state.”
Source: Airbus Defence and Space