The first stratospheric UAS of its kind, Zephyr provides a persistent and adaptable solution, unlike other unmanned aircraft. Its persistence enables a capability of flying continuously for months at a time, at around 70,000ft, above weather and conventional air traffic. It is a HAPS: a High Altitude Platform Station, and is the only HAPS to have demonstrated day/night longevity in the stratosphere.
Imagine a world record breaking High Altitude Platform Station enabling us to reimagine connectivity and Earth Observation applications.
Over 3000+ hours in the stratosphere, and counting! Our Zephyr High-Altitude Platform Station is a genuine technological breakthrough. For the first time in the history of humankind, we are able to achieve high-persistence stratospheric flight. Operationalising the stratosphere enables the development and provision of leading-edge solutions which were previously unthinkable.
Over 64 days in the Stratosphere in 2022
Zephyr Z8-2 had in excess of 140k nautical miles, almost 7 times around the world, over 2/3rd of the way to the moon
Experience the Stratosphere
The first stratospheric UAS of its kind, Zephyr provides a persistent and adaptable solution, unlike other unmanned aircraft. Its persistence enables a capability of flying continuously for months at a time, at around 70,000ft, above weather and conventional air traffic.
It is a HAPS: a High Altitude Platform Station, and is the only HAPS to have demonstrated day/night longevity in the stratosphere.
Zephyr is the world’s leading solar-electric stratospheric Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), with a wingspan of 25m and a weight of less than 75kg.
Having already taken to the stratosphere and broken multiple world records, Zephyr is an innovative solution set to change connectivity as we know it across the globe. Highest altitude flown by a UAS - 76,100ft (2021)
Zephyr relies on solar energy, with secondary batteries charged in daylight to power overnight flight. Thanks to this Zephyr’s flight time is carbon neutral.
Direct-to-Device – configurable beam antenna to enable direct-to-device connectivity seamlessly integrated into an existing Mobile Network Operators' network – a ‘flying super-tower’
Optical Comms – high speed data transfer capabilities for secure connectivity
Earth Observation – 18cm resolution, leading-edge optics, imagery/video capture
Platform as a Service – specific mission required payloads with a full integration service, enabling ultimate flexibility
Imagine a better connected world, capable of addressing the enormous digital divide that is hampering access to the internet for billions of people worldwide: All of that delivered directly to the end-user’s device.
Around four billion people across the globe remain unconnected, with many more underserved. Whether on land, in the air, or at sea; unresolved connectivity issues impact much more than economics, they also affect everyday lives – hindering advancement, and affecting those most vulnerable.
With today’s challenges, and tomorrow’s opportunities, it’s more important than ever that we address the problem.
Airbus HAPS Connectivity Solutions are here to bridge the connectivity gap, complement existing solutions and help meet the challenge, by providing a new, game-changing layer of stratospheric Direct-to-Device connectivity.
Today’s solutions cannot cover every area - geography, population density and economics often rule them out. The unique technological advantages, the economics, and the scalability of our solution can address this challenge. Zephyr helps Mobile Network Operators meet their universal service obligations and gain an edge with improved geographical and population coverage.
Even in well-connected nations some areas still suffer from connectivity gaps due to natural terrain or other obstacles. Zephyr can fill these gaps, providing uninterrupted coverage and user-experience.
When disaster strikes, terrestrial networks often become inoperable. The flexibility of our solutions provides temporary connectivity until networks are restored – saving lives and providing much needed coverage for first responders.
The unique characteristics and economics of HAPS connectivity make it an ideal solution for corporate, rural and industrial private networks. Enabling multiple applications anywhere in the world.
Zephyr hosts the best-in-class OPAZ payload, Airbus’ in-house Earth Observation system designed specifically for the stratosphere. OPAZ is capable of high-quality 18cm electro-optical and 70cm infra-red imagery as well as live videos. It is compatible with Airbus Intelligence advanced processing capabilities. Zephyr is also payload agnostic, meaning it is able to integrate third party customer supplied payloads.
©Airbus DS 2018 – view from Airbus Zephyr
Benefit from unique stratospheric persistency: One of the many features offered by Zephyr is its ability to station-keep, enabling 24/7 fixed-area coverage to complement satellite based services.
Zephyr brings even more focus; providing persistent coverage over a specific area to ensure continuous support for your mission.
See every change. React immediately
©Airbus DS 2018 – view from Airbus Zephyr
Zephyr can support a wide range of payload capabilities, including but not limited to: Electro Optical, Infrared, Hyper Spectral, Passive Radio Frequency (RF) Radar, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Early Warning, Lidar and Automatic Identification System (AIS).
Zephyr is payload agnostic, compatible with OPAZ, Airbus in-house Earth Observation system designed for the stratosphere that provides 18cm electro-optical and 70cm infra-red imagery and videos. It is compatible with Airbus Intelligence advanced processing capabilities. Zephyr is also able to integrate third party customer supplied payloads.
Thanks to Zephyr’s flexibility, scalability and adaptability – services from the stratosphere, whether focused on connectivity or earth observation, can be adapted to serve a variety of government specific case scenarios: helping governments address old challenges in new ways. Be it wildfire management, border monitoring, or secure tactical mission support.
©Airbus DS 2018 – view from Airbus Zephyr
Forest wildfires have devastating consequences across an array of areas. Whether it’s the multi-billion dollar cost to local, national and global economies, or the immeasurable threat to life. Stratospheric connectivity and earth observation could be used as a key component in the smart management of large wildfires.
Border emergencies can often be unpredictable, giving governmental resources little time to respond. Dispatching stratospheric capabilities to the border could either be a short-term, or a dedicated long-term solution to border monitoring – even at night.
MANET Military Mobile Ad-hoc Network
Deploy a secure, and mission-critical Military Mobile Ad-hoc Network (MANET) from the stratosphere. MANET payloads integrated onto Zephyr can advance redundancy, robustness, security, range, and network reliability. Zephyr can significantly improve communications in unforgiving terrain, becoming a game-changing ally in governmental operations from stratosphere.
Military Relay and Range Extension
Zephyr enables secure military communications relay and range extension for VHF/UHF. Flying above 60,000ft altitude, Zephyr can provide a local footprint adjusted to the specific mission area, providing secure communications in-theatre.
Persistent monitoring of critical assets
Integrated with the OPAZ payload, Zephyr offers high-resolution images and video at 18cm for EO and 70cm for IR. This best-in-class camera capability enables detailed monitoring and change detection around critical assets, whether a humanitarian convoy on the move, or a fixed peace-keeping outpost – the combination of flexibility, persistence and technical excellence enables persistent overwatch for both scenarios.
A stratospheric ally for maritime fleet applications, Zephyr carrying a radar or Synthetic Aperture Radar can fly ahead of the fleet, giving decision-makers the opportunity to anticipate and react based upon visual data. Equipped with a connectivity payload, Zephyr can connect the fleet with other assets, enabling streamlined communications for integrated operations: becoming an important part of a maritime force.
Imagine connecting anything, anywhere: on the ground, at sea or in the air – with access to the internet unhindered by terrain or lack of ground infrastructure in the area.
Uniquely positioned right above in the stratosphere, our connectivity solutions offer symmetrical coverage, with high bandwidth and very low latency, less than 10 milliseconds. All direct to the end user’s device.
Staying connected at sea is important, especially for thousands of guests on a maritime cruise. Watching high-quality streaming content, sharing video with family on the shore requires the best internet for the best-in-class experience. Uniquely positioned to deliver latency lower than a LEO or GEO satellite – stratospheric connectivity can provide streaming and video conferencing capabilities to all your guests. Direct to their device.
Smart fishing requires smart solutions that are increasingly becoming internet and cloud-based. Internet connectivity at sea is becoming increasingly important for commercial fishing applications. Our low latency solutions will enable fishing vessels to receive fishing data, and more, at an instant.
Zephyr stratospheric connectivity will be capable of supporting a variety of use cases. Whether enhancing and enabling fast on-board Wi-Fi, or extending the reach of a Flight Information Region’s infrastructure for better-quality communications by acting as a relay. The possibilities begin in the stratosphere.
Smart, integrated networks for connected cars – and in the future, autonomous cars – are the next step in the automotive industry. Addressing white spots and ensuring ubiquitous flow of data is a key element to consider. Service quality must be consistent. Zephyr’s stratospheric solutions can be the answer.
Urban Mobility and eVTOLs
With development of next generation urban mobility, such as electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles, networks will have to evolve to provide capacity and secure consistent coverage. Conventional towers often have their antennas tilted downwards – providing additional capacity and extra low-latency communications from above would not only make a network more robust and complete, but also mitigate risk of poor connectivity.
IoT (Internet of Things)
Zephyr’s stratospheric connectivity has the ability to cover vast geographic footprints and enable smart devices to connect with each other. Zephyr’s connectivity payload can connect a variety of systems and devices together to form a network – building the foundations for the Internet of Things, even in the most demanding environments.
Working towards Sustainability
New, game-changing capabilities do not have to come at a cost to the environment. Working towards worldwide sustainability initiatives and sustainable development goals; Zephyr relies on solar energy, with secondary batteries charged in daylight to power overnight flight. Thanks to this, Zephyr’s flight time is carbon neutral.
United Nations – Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
Learn how Zephyr contributes to the UN SDGs
Zephyr airframe and overall system
#5 CLEAN ENERGY
Zephyr leverages renewable solar panel energy
#7 AFFORDABLE AND CLEAN ENERGY
Zephyr uses solar power and is manually launched
#9 INDUSTRY, INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE
Zephyr develops aerospace industry know how and cutting edge technologies
#11 SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES
One Zephyr – non visible to the naked eye – replaces 250 cell phone towers
#12 RESPONSIBLE PRODUCTION
Zephyr is produced using environmental friendly facilities and process – EV charging points
#13 CLIMATE ACTION
Zephyr is a reusable airframe, reused mission after mission, and carbon emissions neutral
Providing connectivity to under connected areas
#1 NO POVERTY
Internet access transforms communities, brings knowledge, information and development
#2 ZERO HUNGER
Bringing connectivity and imagery, increasing crop yields by up to 50%
#3 GOOD HEALTH AND WELL BEING
Improving health literacy: 1 in 20 Google searches are health related
#4 QUALITY EDUCATION
Bringing connectivity to remote areas enables worldwide education access
#8 DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Enable and accelerate humanitarian assistance / event triggered assistance
#10 REDUCED INEQUALITIES
Internet access enables economic independence and increase of female workforce
Zephyr Imagery and Earth Observation use-cases
#10 CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
Tracking of water current and illegal water pollution
#14 LIFE BELOW WATER
Tracking of fish movements, illegal fishing surveillance
#15 LIFE ON LAND
Monitoring and protecting wild life, ice caps melting monitoring, ocean current monitoring
#16 PEACE, JUSTICE AND STRONG INSTITUTIONS
Immigration and people flow monitoring, supporting armed forces in territory protection…
Work with us
At the heart of great technological breakthroughs are the people who make it possible
We are a dynamic, modern, high-tech workplace; working with some of the most cutting-edge technology on our planet.
We are working on more than just the most persistent aircraft in history. We are working on a real chance to deliver a solution to connect millions of unconnected people across the globe.
We are working on saving and improving lives.
You can be a part of that historic story by joining our Team in one of the roles advertised through the Airbus portal, or search subcontractor positions via our recruitment partner.