The sun’s rays bathe our planet with vast amounts of energy – approximately 885 million terawatt hours every year. At Airbus, we work to harvest this alternative renewable energy source to power high-endurance stratospheric flight.

Taking unmanned aerial vehicles into the stratosphere

Today, Airbus is advancing solar cell technology to enable unmanned aerial vehicles to stay aloft in the stratosphere for extended periods – using only sunlight as energy.

Our work in solar flight is focused on:

  • Developing advanced photovoltaic solar panels that are lighter, more flexible and capable of capturing more energy per m2 of surface;
  • Converting captured solar energy into electrical energy to power an electric-propulsion system and other onboard equipment;
  • Harnessing solar energy into a rechargeable energy storage system, thereby enabling the aircraft to fly at night with unlimited autonomy.

Our flagship programme, Zephyr, is a high-altitude pseudo-satellite that is powered exclusively by solar power.

Zephyr

Zephyr

Pioneering the stratosphere

Latest news

Space
NTT DOCOMO and Space Compass partners with Airbus on HAPS, committing to a USD$100 million investment in AALTO
A consortium of Japanese businesses led by NTT DOCOMO and Space Compass, together with Mizuho Bank and the Development Bank of Japan, has committed to invest USD$100m in AALTO, which manufactures and operates the stratospheric, solar-powered Zephyr HAPS.
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Innovation
Airbus partners with Space Compass to serve the Japanese market with mobile connectivity and earth observation solutions
Airbus HAPS Connectivity Business (Airbus HAPS) has signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Space Compass Corporation of Japan (Space Compass) for a cooperation agreement to service the Japanese market with mobile connectivity and earth observation services from the Stratosphere with Airbus’ record breaking Zephyr platform.
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Innovation
Airbus and Salam join forces for High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) connectivity services
Airbus´ HAPS Connectivity Business has signed a strategic partnership with Salam, a leading Saudi telecommunications and ICT company and part of the Mawarid Media & Communications Group (MMCG), to progress the development of private networks, IoT applications, disaster management solutions and other connectivity and high-altitude Earth observation services from the stratosphere to serve the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
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Discover Energy Transition at Airbus

New-energy-ecosystem

Energy Transition

Introducing new low-emission propulsion technology to aerospace

Sustainable aviation fuels

A new generation of reduced emissions fuels

test

Hybrid and electric flight

Laying the groundwork for decarbonising aviation

Hydrogen

Hydrogen

An important decarbonisation pathway

Urban Air Mobility Vehicle - CityAirbusNextGen

Urban Air Mobility

Taking urban transport into the sky