Airbus Defence and Space launches Zephyr 8
Airbus Defence and Space officially announced today that it has launched the Zephyr 8 programme to develop the next generation of the world-record setting Zephyr 7 system and invites potential customers and partners to undertake joint in-flight demonstrations of their payloads and applications.
Zephyr is a High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS). Running exclusively on solar power and flying at high altitudes above the weather and above conventional air traffic, it fills a capability gap between satellites and UAVs. Like no other means they allow focus on a specific area of interest (which can be hundreds of miles wide) while providing it with satellite-like communications and ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) services over long periods of time without interruption.
The Airbus Group has been working on High Altitude Pseudo-Satellites (HAPS) since 2008. A cross-divisional "Nursery" project was created in which an integrated team of space and aviation experts has incubated a HAPS business addressing all its technical, commercial and regulatory aspects.
In 2013, this incubator acquired the assets of the "Zephyr" program which had originally been initiated in the UK and integrated all the key Zephyr staff into its HAPS organisation.
"We are now building the next generation of Airbus Zephyr that will allow customers to test payloads and applications. We are ready and look forward to demonstrating its unique capabilities to customers in flight," said Jens Federhen, Airbus HAPS Programme Manager.
“Zephyr 7 is demonstrably years ahead of any other HAPS system and we spent last year analysing and designing exactly what we need to improve it" explained Airbus Zephyr Technical Director, Chris Kelleher.