Stratospheric HAPS UAV Flies at 64,000 Feet

By Mike Ball / 30 May 2021
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Sceye has successfully launched, flown and landed its stratospheric HAPS (high-altitude platform station) UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), reaching an altitude of 64,600 ft. The company has received financial support from the State of New Mexico to pilot the delivery of universal broadband access to the Navajo Nation, working with a consortium of regional telecommunications companies and tribal entities.

Sceye, Sacred Wind Communications, CellularOne, PVT Networks, Santa Fe Indian School, and Navajo Technical University are banding together with the goal of achieving 100% connectivity across the Navajo Nation. According to the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, 60% of the Navajo Nation’s over 300,000 residents do not have fixed Internet access.

The company has recently conducted tests to determine the data connection range of its systems. Standard LTE technology allows for a range of 100km, and Sceye’s systems have added an additional 40km, setting a long-range record in LTE OpenRAN architecture. Sceye’s combination of technologies can cover areas as wide as 27,000 square miles with high-speed broadband for all users of fixed and mobile.

Sceye will pilot one of its HAPS UAVs over an area of approximately 6,000 square miles to demonstrate 100 Mbps download speeds to homes, schools and clinics, which is the FCC’s gold standard for rural area broadband.

Mikkel Vestergaard Frandsen, CEO of Sceye, commented: “We view the successful flight and the record setting data connection as a significant milestone for our technology; one that could dissolve the rural broadband barrier.”

John Badal, CEO of Sacred Wind, said: ““The consortium is a major leap forward in closing the digital divide for the Navajo Nation. Sceye’s tower-in-the-sky approach could avoid building hundreds of new cell towers across the State and the accompanying need to use tribal lands.”

Alicia J. Keyes, Economic Development Cabinet Secretary and Spaceport Authority Board Chair, stated: “The State is excited to support this innovative effort by Sceye and its partners to bring more affordable broadband and telecommunications to tribal and rural communities throughout the state.”

Posted by Mike Ball Mike Ball is our resident technical editor here at Unmanned Systems Technology. Combining his passion for teaching, advanced engineering and all things unmanned, Mike keeps a watchful eye over everything related to the unmanned technical sector. With over 10 years’ experience in the unmanned field and a degree in engineering, Mike’s been heading up our technical team here for the last 8 years. Connect & Contact
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