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SIMPLIFIER: INDIA’S HIGH ALTITUDE PLATFORMS (HAPs)



  May 29, 2024

SIMPLIFIER: INDIA’S HIGH ALTITUDE PLATFORMS (HAPs)



Pseudo-satellite

What are High Altitude Platforms (HAPs)?

HAPs are unmanned aerial vehicles that fly at altitudes of 18-20 km above the Earth. They perform functions similar to satellites, such as surveillance, imaging, and telecommunications, but at a lower cost.

Why are HAPs important?

HAPs offer advantages like lower costs, dynamic payload swapping, and can complement satellite services. They are useful for telecommunications, surveillance, security, and disaster relief.

What was the recent development in India’s HAP project?

The CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) conducted a successful test flight of a HAP on May 7, 2024. This test is a step towards developing a full-scale HAP capable of long-duration missions.

What are the goals of India’s HAP project?

India aims to create a HAP that can stay airborne for 90 days, surpassing the current record held by Airbus’ Zephyr, which demonstrated a 64-day flight.

What is a pseudo-satellite and why is it significant?

A pseudo-satellite is an aircraft, like a HAP, that performs similar functions to a satellite but operates in the stratosphere. It is significant because it can provide continuous, high-resolution coverage of specific areas at a lower cost and with more flexibility compared to traditional satellites.

What technologies are used in India’s HAPs?

The test vehicle used conventional solar panels and lithium-ion batteries. The full-scale HAP will feature advanced technologies such as gallium arsenide solar cells with higher energy efficiency and high-density batteries.

What are the challenges in developing HAPs?

Developing HAPs involves both technological and operational challenges, including maintaining the structural integrity of the lightweight vehicle during ascent to high altitudes and ensuring long-duration flight capabilities.



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