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High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS): A Beginner's Guide



  Feb 12, 2024

High Altitude Pseudo Satellite (HAPS): A Beginner's Guide




Introduction to HAPS:

The concept of High Altitude Pseudo Satellites (HAPS) brings a revolutionary approach to aerial surveillance and communication technologies. Unlike conventional drones, HAPS operate in the stratosphere, far above commercial flight paths, and can remain airborne for extended periods, thanks to solar energy and battery systems.

Successful Test by CSIRNAL:

The CSIRNational Aerospace Laboratories (CSIRNAL), based in India, has made significant progress in this domain by successfully testing a prototype of HAPS at Challakere, Karnataka. This event marks a crucial step forward in developing technology that can operate as a "tower in the sky," offering more flexibility and a wider range of applications than traditional satellites.

Prototype Specifications and Achievements:

The tested HAPS prototype, though smaller in scale, showcases the project's potential:

Length: 5 meters
Wingspan: 11 meters
Weight: 23 kg
Altitude Achieved: Approximately 3 km
Duration: Stayed airborne for about 8 hours
This test exceeded the initial performance metrics set for the prototype, demonstrating the project's promising future.

Future Objectives:

By 2027, CSIRNAL plans to develop a fullsized HAPS with a wingspan of 30 meters (comparable to a Boeing 737), capable of reaching altitudes up to 23 km and remaining airborne for at least 90 days. Achieving this would place India among the few nations with such advanced capabilities.

Engineering Challenges and Innovations:

Creating a HAPS involves overcoming significant engineering challenges, such as:

Power Source: Solarpowered batteries must efficiently lift and sustain the airframe in the thin stratosphere.
Airframe Weight: The entire system's weight is a critical factor, with most of it coming from the batteries required for longduration flights.
Solar Cell Technology: The solar panels used are not the typical ones found on rooftops but are made of extremely thin solar films, a technology only a handful of companies globally can produce.

CSIRNAL's Developmental Focus:

To make HAPS a reality, CSIRNAL is working on several key components:
Propellers and Battery Management System: Essential for efficient and sustainable flight.
CarbonComposite Airframe: Offers the necessary strength while keeping the weight minimal.
FlightControl System: Ensures stability and maneuverability in challenging atmospheric conditions.
HighPowered Electric Motors: Capable of operating in extreme temperature ranges.

Conclusion:

The development of HAPS by CSIRNAL is not just a testament to India's engineering prowess but also opens up a realm of possibilities for applications such as surveillance, 5G communication, and environmental monitoring. As this technology progresses, it could significantly alter how we approach communication and observation from the skies.

SRIRAM’s


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